Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Palestinians in Gaza react to Egypt, Tunisia uprisings

Electronic Intifada - Pam Bailey- As news of the uprisings in a growing number of Arab countries spread like wildfire around the world, residents of other countries struggling under their own oppressive governments and soaring unemployment were celebrating on the streets, on Twitter and on Facebook. The occupied Gaza Strip was no exception.

"We, as Palestinians, salute the Tunisian people and any Arab nation rising against injustice," said Saber Zanin, coordinator of the Local Initiative Committee for Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. However, perhaps the most excited were the youth of Gaza, who saw the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan as evidence of the latent power of their generation.

"There was much excitement from what happened. I spent the whole day just following up with what was going on in Tunisia and I was actually very proud with what the people have done," said Sameeha Elwan, a 23-year-old blogger, shortly after the uprising there. "It gave me some hope and I got back the faith I have in people."

Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC) renounces the utilization of its’ name by the Israeli company Agrexco

PARC - The Israeli company Agrexco has arranged lately a tour in Europe for a number of Palestinian farmers from the Gaza Strip. The slogan of this visit was to introduce Palestinian producers to the European market standards; the fact that this company helped in exporting a limited amount of strawberries and flowers to the European markets.

During the visit Agrexco tried to exploit the participation of the Palestinian farmers in this tour and use them to undermine all civil society campaigns calling for boycotting Agrexco’s products due to the company’s violation of the agreed upon preferential treatment conditions that apply to Israeli products. Agrexco’s export of settlement products, which are not produced within Israel’s borders, is in violation of European laws and regulations. It is worth noting that PARC is publishing this statement of clarification because its name was used more than once.

Israeli minister urges Egypt to use force

Press TV- An Israeli minister says Egyptian government forces will have to exercise force to rein in public protests as the African country is teetering on the brink of a Tunisia-style revolution.

Opinion: AIPAC's Egypt miscalculation

Summary: Article below by MJ Rosenberg, a former AIPAC executive who also spent 15 years on Capitol Hill working for Democrats. Article is not just about Egypt, and how Israel policy harms US, but also about the computer worm developed to neutralize Iran's nuclear threat.

Political Correction - MJ Rosenberg
- If one needs additional proof that the "pro-Israel" lobby and the policies it dictates to US policymakers are bad for both the U.S. and Israel, look no further than what is happening in Egypt.

The regime that the Israeli government and its U.S. lobby have depended upon to enforce the status quo is going down. It is not clear when, but it's going to be soon, much sooner than anyone ever anticipated. And you can be sure that any democratic government that takes Mubarak's place is not going to play the role of America's (let alone Israel's) enforcer in the Middle East.

Israel's unjustified anguish over end of Mubarak

Political Correction - MJ Rosenberg- Aluf Benn, one of Israel's top journalists, writes that without President Mubarak, Israel will have to find new friends in the Middle East. He notes that Turkey is now gone too. (Israel's relations with Turkey deteriorated after the Turkish Freedom Flotilla incident and following two years of Turkish criticism of the brutal Israeli blockade of Gaza).

This line is not unique to Benn. It appears from the media that most Israelis believe this, as do their defenders in the United States.

But they brought this situation on themselves.

Video: reportedly by IDF of Israeli settlers' murder of Palestinian teen Oday Maher Qadous from the village of Iraq Burin

Palestine Video - Armed Illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank taking over Palestinian land, both private and public, usually walk down from their settlements, located on hilltops, to harass farmers in the surrounding area to prevent them from tending their land, their only source of living. The settlers plan is to drive farmers out and expand the settlements.

These evil acts, endlessly recorded in videos from all over the West Bank, usually end in either the Israeli army intervening and declaring the area a closed military zone, preventing Palestinian farmers from tending their land, or in the Palestinian farmers leaving the area to prevent harm to their persons or families, which in either case would give the result desired by settlers. Defending yourself from a settler is miraculously turned into an attack against an israeli and is punishable by a harsh prison sentence and financial burdens the poor Palestinian farmer family would almost find it impossible to bear.

The video below claims it was released by an IDF “security” camera. It shows an armed Israeli settler, doing the usual deed described above, except this time the settler was confronted by a young Palestinian Farmer who was drawn into a trap and killed. The settler suddenly runs and as the young Palestinian farmer follows him closely -believing he has been been victorious in driving the illegal settler away from the farm- the Israeli settler simply turns around and shoots him in cold blood, making it appear as if he did it in self defense.

The settlers attempt to act for the camera – settlers know exactly were it is placed and which areas it films due to their close ties to the army “protecting” their settlements – betrays him, notice the professionalism with which he turned around quickly and shot his victim, walked away fast and hurriedly ran and fled the scene of the crime.

The murder victim was Nineteen year-old Oday Maher Qadous from the village of Iraq Burin, south of Nablus, and was accompanied by his cousin (The third young man you see in the video) and the murder took place on January 27, 2011. Read more

Israel to allow Mubarak to move 800 troops into Sinai (which is Egypt's own territory)

Ha’aretz - Israeli officials say they have agreed to allow Egypt to move several hundred troops into the Sinai Peninsula for the first time since the countries signed a peace treaty three decades ago.

Under the 1979 peace treaty, Israel returned the captured Sinai to Egypt. In return, Egypt agreed to leave the area demilitarized. [and Egypt was promised massive US aid ever after.]

With street protests threatening the Egyptian regime, the unnamed officials say that Israel agreed to allow the Egyptian army to move two battalions, about 800 soldiers, into Sinai. The officials say the troops moved into the Sharm el-Sheikh area on Sinai's southern tip, far from Israel, on Sunday.

Israel urges world to curb criticism of Egypt's Mubarak

Ha’aretz - Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

...The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak's ouster.

...on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt's stability.  Read more

Opinion: Pro-Israel organizations don't care that Mubarak was a ruthless dictator; he was 'good for Israel'

ThePassionateAttachment - ...Israel, Israel, Israel – it’s all about Israel, even when it isn’t. That’s the explanation for the coolness of the major pro-Israel organizations to Egypt’s valiant democratic upsurge. As Alan Elsner, an analyst with the “Israel Project,” put it:

“We understand very well that this is a regime that has been there for 30 years and is an authoritarian government. It hasn’t allowed free and fair elections – we understand that. We also understand that this is a government that made peace with Israel in 1979 and Mubarak’s predecessor paid for that peace with his life.”

... Asked why the Project supported the Iranian “Green” upsurge, and not the Egyptian version, Elsner replied: “There is a huge difference between the governments of Iran and of Egypt. The government of Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel and has observed it.” So unacquainted with morality and any concept of basic human decency are the Elsners of this world that I doubt they realize how bad this sounds.

Israel increases harsh interrogations of Palestinian children in Nabi Saleh

PSCC - 14 year old Islam Tamimi was arrested in a night raid on Sunday 23 January 2011 and subjected to psychological torture in order to extract dictated false testimony that will be used to incriminate and prosecute villagers in Nabi Saleh. [Since Sunday 23 January 2011, three 15 year old children have been arrested in night raids in Nabi Saleh]

Israel to spend millions on PR to Europe

Ynet - As Israel's image continues to deteriorate in the world, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has decided to make an unprecedented move by hiring a network of European firms to conduct the state's public relations campaign throughout the continent...

The Foreign Ministry has decided to launch the campaign in Europe's most influential countries – Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the Czech Republic. It is expected to cost NIS 12 million ($3.26 million) a year. Read more

Israel lays cornerstone for new illegal settlement; Huckabee attends ceremony

Ha’aretz - Israel officials lay cornerstone for new Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhood. Preliminary plans for the Beit Orot neighborhood on Mount Scopus call for the construction of 24 homes; former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attends ceremony. [East Jerusalem is Palestinian land; therefore, this is an illegal settlement.]

Israeli forces raid homes, attempt to kidnap 11-year-old son of activist

IMEMC - Israeli special forces raided homes in Silwan [in east Jerusalem] today at dawn, including that of banished al-Bustan Popular Committee member Adnan Ghaith, and attempted to arrest his son.

When police attempted to arrest Adnan Ghaith’s 11 year old son, Oudai Ghaith, the family refused to hand over the child. Police finally left the home on the condition that Oudai present himself at the police station at 10 a.m this morning.

Adnan Ghaith, Silwan secretary-general of Fatah and al-Bustan Popular Committee member, is currently serving his 4-month exile sentence in Ramallah, banned from entering the Jerusalem region during this time.

Israeli authorities invoked a military law dating from the British mandate period to enable the banishment.

Eyewitnesses reported that soldiers executing the raids were carrying tools used for breaking doors. Read more

Egyptian protests affect efficiency of underground Gaza tunnels

IMEMC - As underground tunnel trade drops, Gazans report fuel shortages.

Merchants and tunnel workers said the pace of smuggling of fuel and other materials had dropped in recent days and reached its lowest level on Saturday amidst clashes between Egyptian residents of north Sinai and security forces.

Gazans get most of their fuel from Egypt through underground tunnels.

More Palestinians escape Egypt prisons

Ma’an - Four more Palestinians who were held in an Egyptian prison returned to the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Mu’tasem Al-Quka, jailed than seven years in Abu Za’bal prison, said, “I was detained while I was on my way to Egypt, on the accusations that I am an affiliate in Hamas movement.”

He added he did not know at first the charge against him was but later told it was for being a member of a movement banned in Egypt.

Al-Quka stressed that he was ill-treated in Egyptian prisons especially in Abu Za’bal prison. He said that the prisoners were able to flee the prison as the Egyptians demolished its walls.

He said many Palestinians were with him in the prison, eight of them from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Read more

Israeli forces raid Nablus area, kidnap at least five

Ma’an - Israeli forces detained at least five young men overnight from Jenin after raiding their houses, officials said.

Israeli patrols stationed themselves at the entrance of Zububa village until early morning, witnesses said...

An Israeli military spokeswoman said 11 Palestinians were detained from the village.  Read more

Israeli forces fire on Palestinians in northern Gaza, shoot 20-year-old gathering gravel

Ma’an - Israeli forces on Sunday opened fire on Palestinians working in northern Gaza near the border with Israel, medics said.

Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya said a 20-year-old identified as MH sustained a gunshot wound and was transferred to hospital.

He was collecting gravel near the border, the official said. Workers in Gaza frequently head to the border area to collect gravel and other construction scraps to make into cement.Read more

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Press TV video report: Gazans worried about Rafah border amid Egypt tensions

Press TV - People in Gaza are closely monitoring the anti-government protests in Egypt, their southern neighbor. As Palestinians in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world by years of the Israeli siege, Rafah border crossing is the main entry and exit post between Egypt and the costal enclave. The ongoing unrest in Egypt has affected prices in the Gaza Strip as underground tunnels grant access to goods banned by Israel and Gazans bring in many of their basic necessities through these tunnels.

View Video

Locals can be seen queuing at gas stations stockpiling fuel, over fears that supplies from Egypt could be halted by the turmoil gripping the country.

As the main concern of the Gazans is the access to essential goods banned by Israeli authorities, such as construction material and fuel, the ministry of economy in the Hamas-run government in Gaza, has tried to reassure the people that fuel and food products are abundant in the enclave.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities have informed Palestinian officials of their decision to close the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip indefinitely as the army deploys in the northern Sinai. This, as Hamas security forces deployed reinforcements along the border.

People here are also worried that Israel might take over the Rafah crossing and deploy its army along Gaza-Egypt border should the uprising lead to a regime change in the North African country. Read more

“Shoot Demonstrators!” Israeli Media and the Egyptian Revolution

AIC, Michael Warschawski - Fuad Ben Eliezer [Labour member of the Israeli parliament] does not understand what happened, and on all the radio stations he lays out his embarrassment: What happened to his friend Hosni Mubarak? Why didn’t he order the military to shoot the masses and thus end the “riots”, in his words?

Forward admits: Israel and its partisans lied about "no partner for peace"

Forward, JJ Goldberg - Well, well, well, isn’t this awkward? After all that talk about Israel having “no partner” for peace, it turns out the Palestinians were ready to make a deal after all, on terms that weren’t far from Israel’s bottom line.....

Sounds like good news, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s extremely embarrassing. Israel’s leaders and allies have been saying for years that peace was impossible, that Israel was willing to make “painful” concessions but there was nobody to talk to on the Palestinian side...

Now it appears the Palestinians were willing to settle for much less. That bit about Israel having no partner was a fib.

.....What’s most shocking about all this is that Israelis by and large aren’t shocked. The progress of negotiations has been common knowledge for years, at least among the well-informed. Enough has leaked out to the press to make these latest leaks sound like more of the same. Some favor the Palestinians’ terms, some think they’re a trap, but few seem to doubt they’re real.

Then there’s the organized American Jewish community. They’ve been caught completely off guard. The leaders of the main centrist organizations, who never lack for grand posturing, were silent as of this writing. The right is in a tizzy, doing handstands to explain it away.... The one thing nobody seems able to get their minds around is the idea that Israel might be in the wrong here. That would be much too awkward.  Read more

Rabbi who caused Helen Thomas’ downfall named editor

JTA - Rabbi David Nesenoff, whose impromptu interview with journalist Helen Thomas led to her resignation, has been named the publisher and editor of The Jewish Star.

The weekly newspaper, based on Long Island in suburban New York, made the announcement late last week on behalf of its owners, Clifford and Stuart Richner. Read more

Related story: The Manufactured Controversy Over Former Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas ...Rabbi David Nesenoff also made a video featuring himself and another man impersonating a buffoonish Catholic priest and Mexican immigrant. Read more

Fox commentator and presidential candidate Huckabee to visit Israel, following Romney; supports illegal Jewish-only settlements

JTA - Mike Huckabee is the second likely Republican candidate for U.S. president to visit Israel this month.

Huckabee, who was to arrive Sunday on his 15th visit to Israel, is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2012 nomination this summer, according to reports. His visit follows one earlier in the month by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another expected contender for the GOP nod.

Opinion: Israel Lobby sets US Mideast policies; J Street joins attack on Rand Paul

Gilad Atzmon - Why does America support those regimes, whose leaders' dictates, ideologies and methods of ruling are totally and openly incongruous with America’s alleged value system? And If America is genuinely concerned with the so-called ‘rise of Islam’, why then, did it eradicate Saddam Hussein’s distinctly secular regime? And if America is, as it claims, enthusiastic about encouraging 'non radicalised' secular Arabs, why is it constantly seeking conflict with Bashir Asad, leader of another secular stronghold?.....

.....For decades American foreign policy has been dictated by Zionist forces within their administration. For decades, America has been exhausting its resources to chase the enemies of the Jewish state. It even sends its young boys and girls to fight and die in Zionist wars. The second Iraq War was obviously such a war. It is becoming clear that America’s decision makers have sacrificed the interests of the American people.

.... Even the alleged ‘peace seeking’ J Street was quick to attack [Rand Paul for suggesting that aid to Israel be cut]….."Read more

Opinion: Support Rand Paul's comment that US should end aid to Israel

AmCon, Philip Giraldi - There has been curiously little coverage of Senator Rand Paul’s recent comments regarding foreign aid. Appearing with Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday night, he called for an end to foreign aid and, when challenged by Blitzer, twice confirmed that he would include Israel. That a United States Senator would call for eliminating aid to Israel is astonishing given the general consensus prevailing in Congress that the assistance is sacrosanct. And considering that Israel is one of the wealthiest countries in the world (with a per capita income at the same level as Great Britain) and is alleged to be going through an economic boom, there is little justification for continuing the largesse, which is largely driven by domestic politics in any event. The argument that Israel needs the money to maintain its military edge is also a red herring as Tel Aviv currently enjoys complete military superiority in all areas over all of its potential opponents. It also has the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal.

For his audacity, Senator Paul has been attacked by the Israel Lobby and by both Democrats and Republicans.

Now that the Obama Administration is considering withholding the $2 billion that Egypt receives annually, a sum granted in 1979 when Sadat abandoned the Palestinians and signed a peace treaty with Israel, it would perhaps be a good opportunity to reexamine all US aid to the region. The US economy’s sorry condition should be demanding such a reappraisal in any event if the Republicans are sincere about budget cutting. It would be nice to see some prominent Republicans and conservatives lining up in support of Rand Paul.  Read more

Cyprus recognizes Palestinian state

Ma’an - Cyprus has recognized a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, the official Palestinian Authority news agency said Sunday. Read more

Video: Egyptian protester in London, Waseem Wagdi, describes what the Egyptian uprising means

Youtube - Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian living in London talks about recent events in Egypt

Newly released book in Israel: Zionist underground hid weapons in synagogues, women's rooms, and children's houses

Ha’aretz - … book by Rephael Kitron, "Eretz Yisrael Hanisteret: Sippuram Shel Ha'slikim Ve'toldotehem" ("The Hidden Land of Israel: The Story and History of the Secret Weapons Caches" ). Kitron retired from the defense establishment, having left his official service in 1999

......Even after the founding of the state, the various organizations continued to conceal weapons from the authorities in the original caches. Weapons and bombs from the Lehi storehouses in Jerusalem were used by attorney Yaakov Heruti in concealing a bomb at the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv and by Amos Keinan to blow up the Tel Aviv home of Transportation Minister David-Zvi Pinkas. The leftist socialist Mapam party kept weapons in the caches of the Hashomer Hatzair kibbutzim as part of Operation Leviathan, preparation for the possibility of seizing power and fomenting a socialist revolution in Israel. To this day, caches are being discovered in kibbutzim that were simply forgotten, or it happened that those in charge took their oath of secrecy with them to the grave.

"The point of departure for those in the Jewish Yishuv who hatched the idea of building weapons caches in places such as synagogues, women's rooms, children's houses," explains Kitron, "was that British officers and troops were gentlemen who wouldn't dare to search in such places."
Read more

Gideon Levy: The Egyptian masses won't play ally to Israel

 Ha’aretz -  Three or four days ago, Egypt was still in [Israeli] hands. The army of pundits, including our top expert on Egypt, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said that "everything is under control," that Cairo is not Tunis and that Mubarak is strong. Ben-Eliezer said that he had spoken on the phone with a senior Egyptian official, and he assured him that there's nothing to worry about. You can count on Fuad and Hosni, both about to become has-beens.

On Friday night everything changed. It turned out that the Israeli intelligence estimates, which were recited ad nauseum by the court analysts, were again, shall we say, not the epitome of accuracy. The people of Egypt had their say, and had the nerve not to fall in line with Israeli wishes. A moment before Mubarak's fate is sealed, the time has come for drawing the Israeli conclusions.

Not a plague of darkness in Egypt but the light of the Nile: the end of a regime propped up by bayonets is foretold.

Another professor fired for views on the Middle East - Israel partisan gets Brooklyn College to fire Patersen-Overton; "now they're going after graduate students" - asks for support

CounterPunch, Joshua Sperber - Brooklyn College fired PhD student Kristofer Petersen-Overton yesterday, one day after New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) sent a letter to BC president Karen Gould accusing Petersen-Overton of being an "overt supporter of terrorism." Hikind has complained in interviews that Petersen-Overton's academic work is anti-Israel,

Israel sentences Palestinian human rights defender Ameer Makhoul to nine years imprisonment

AIC - Palestinian human rights defender and activist Ameer Makhoul was sentenced to nine years in jail on Sunday, 30 January on charges of spying and contact with a foreign agent.

…“After 16 hours of sleep deprivation and being tied to a chair in a manner that constitutes torture, Ameer told them he would sign whatever false charges they want. He was broken.”

Although the Israeli authorities confiscated numerous computers and documents belonging to Ameer, the Ittijah organization and Ameer’s family, in addition to listening to over 30,000 conversations of Ameer in the previous two years, the Israeli authorities found no evidence against Ameer apart from his own statement.  Read more

Abbas affirms his support for Mubarak - state media

Ma’an - President Mahmoud Abbas contacted his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, state media said.

“President Abbas affirmed the Palestinian leadership's support for Egyptian security and stability,” Abbas was quoted as saying. Read more

Israeli forces attack funeral procession for youth shot in the head by Israeli settlers; second killed in two days

Ma’an - Israeli forces on Saturday fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the funeral procession of a Palestinian teenager who was shot by settlers in Hebron, witnesses said.

Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of Yousef Ikhleil, 17, who died hours after he was shot in the head by settlers from a nearby illegal settlement north of Hebron on Friday.

...On Thursday, 19-year-old Uday Maher Qadous was shot and killed while working on his land near the northern West Bank village of Iraq Burin. Read more

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paraguay recognizes Palestinian state

Ma'an-AFP- Paraguay has recognized a "free and independent" Palestinian state within its 1967 borders, the ministry of foreign affairs said Friday.

The South American nation thus joins a wave of other regional countries that include Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Uruguay. Read more

Israeli settlers shoot Palestinian teen in head near Hebron

Ma'an- Two Palestinians were injured Thursday, by a group of religious Jews locals described as settlers from a nearby area. One man was beaten and the second shot, and said to be "clinically dead."

The shooting is the second in as many days.

Spokesman for the village Mohammad Awad said that more than 150 settlers from Bat Ayin had descended from the illegal hilltop community and entered the village of Safa early in the morning.

Clashes were reported between the settlers and the villagers, who told Awad that the armed religious Jews were using live fire against the residents. Read more

Sit-in at Palestinian Embassy in London

On Thursday, Palestinian academics and students living in London staged a sit-in at the Palestinian embassy.

IMEMC- Press Release from the group:

We are not affiliated to any Political faction, or group. Today we are all the “Palestinian neglected voice” , the voice of the Palestinian youth at and in exile.

We, Palestinian youth of the General Union of Palestinian students, gather here today in honour of the integral part our union has played in the struggle for liberation. Since its official foundation more than five decades ago, GUPS has been at the forefront of mobilising our people and regenerating our commitment to Palestine, especially in times of national danger and depletion. We are at the office of the PLO delegation to the United Kingdom in order to reassert our inalienable rights, and today we claim our right to democratically participate in the shaping of our destiny. We begin a national initiative to campaign for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council on the clear understanding that only a reformed national representative institution, that includes the will of all Palestinians, those struggling in the homeland and those struggling in exile, can create a representative Palestinian platform, and restore the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

In the spirit of national unity that bring us here today, we remind Palestinian youth everywhere of the National Reconciliation Document of the Prisoners of 2006, issued from the Occupier’s prisons from the leaders of all political parties. Its second point of national unity urgently calls for the reactivation of the PLO through its democratic mechanisms, enfranchising all Palestinians, the millions of refugees in exile, and those inside. We are all Palestinian citizens, we all have the right to vote. We declare here that we insist upon this right to form our national institutions. Read more

Israeli army ordnance kills Palestinian child; second child killed by Israeli explosives this month

IMEMC- Palestinian medical sources reported that a 13-year-old child was killed on Thursday evening when an ordnance dropped by the Israeli army detonated near him close to the Sofa Crossing in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the medical services in Gaza, reported that the child was identified as Mohammad Abu Adwan.

Abu Salmiyya added that the body of Adwan was severely mutilated due to the blast.

He said that the child is the second Palestinian to be killed this month by explosives dropped by the Israeli army during military invasions, and that six other residents were injured this month. Read more

US Democrats and pro-Israel lobbies slam Republican Senator's call to halt Israel aid

Haaretz- Tea Party representative Rand Paul tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he has a lot of respect for Israel but he doesn't believe the U.S. should be funding the Mideast arms race during financial crisis.

U.S. Democrats and pro-Israel lobbies slammed on Thursday comments made by newly elected Republican Senator and Tea Party representative Rand Paul who suggested that the United States should halt all foreign aid including its financial aid to Israel.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday Paul said that “Reuters did a poll, and 71 percent of American people agree with me that when we're short of money, where we can't do the things we need to do in our country, we certainly shouldn't be shipping the money overseas.” Read more

The Palestine Papers: US sidelined Palestinian democracy

Al-Jazeera - Ali Abunimah- The Palestine Papers show that the voices of the Palestinian people themselves never came into the equation.

US president Barack Obama personally warned Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas against "surprising" him with a reconciliation deal with Hamas that did not meet strict conditions imposed by the United States and the Quartet (US, EU, Russia and UN Secretary General), Palestinian records of meetings with the president show. When Abbas threatened to resign in late 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised that she and Obama would intervene personally to keep Abbas in place.

The confidential minutes and accounts of the meetings, which were leaked to Al Jazeera as part of The Palestine Papers, cast new light on the extent to which the United States -- in contradiction to its professions of support for democracy -- micromanaged the affairs of the Palestinian leadership, in particular the Fatah movement.

In their first meeting at the White House in May 2009, Abbas assured Obama that he would "shoulder all his commitments" -- including security collaboration with Israel under the supervision of US Army Lt. General Keith Dayton, according to an account given by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

"Obama said he supports talks between Fatah and Hamas but that we should not surprise him with a unity government that doesn't recognize the two-state solution, and accept Quartet conditions," Erekat reported to his staff. This direct interference by the American president likely contributed to the failure of Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks that have lasted almost two years with little sign of Hamas and Fatah coming to terms.
American micromanagement

Hamas and Fatah, the two leading Palestinian political factions, have been irreconcilably split since Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006. With support from the Bush administration and particularly its General Dayton, militias and groups loyal to Abbas's Fatah sought to undermine and overthrow the Palestinian Authority administration led by Hamas.

The Bush administration had been incensed by the establishment of a "national unity government" in February 2007 led by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and pressured Abbas to withdraw from it. In June 2007, Hamas ousted the Dayton-supervised militias from the Gaza Strip and assumed full control of the territory.

Since Hamas' election victory, the Quartet, made up of the US, EU, Russia and the UN Secretary General, have maintained a boycott of Hamas until it renounced armed resistance, agreed to abide by agreements signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (of which Hamas is not a member), and accepted the two-state solution. No similar conditions have been imposed on Israel, whose use of violence includes alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, and whose ongoing violent land confiscation and settlement construction in the West Bank in violation of international law and signed agreements has torpedoed all efforts to reach a two-state solution.

In another sign of micromanagement of Palestinian affairs by the United States, Obama also asked Abbas when he would hold a conference of his Fatah movement, according to Erekat's account of the meeting. Abbas responded that the conference would take place by July 2009, and that he would also prepare for elections. Abbas told Obama, according to the Palestinian notes, "I will do security, reform, institution building, Fatah convention, and win the elections."

Obama's interest in the Fatah conference stemmed from American concerns expressed by other US officials quoted in The Palestine Papers that Fatah had to boost its image so it could compete with Hamas. However, rather than restore the battered movement, the conference, which was held in August 2009, was rocked by divisions, controversy over Fatah's lack of financial transparency, and walk-outs ("Divisions rock Fatah conference," Aljazeera, 6 August 2009). The elections Abbas spoke about were never held. Read more

Bay Area Rapid Transit removes anti-Palestinian ad

San Francisco Bay Guardian- Offensive advertisements promoting a right-wing Zionist viewpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were removed from all BART stations this week. “They could be commonly interpreted as disparaging or demeaning to Palestinians as a whole,” according to BART spokesperson Jim Allison told us, saying the violated the district's advertising standards.

The ad featured the words “Stop Palestinian Terrorism” above a picture of a face covered with a traditional Arab scarf, known as a keffiyeh, and the words “Teach Peace” above the picture of children playing soccer. The keffiyeh has evolved into a symbol of Palestinian resistance to occupation after former PLO leader Yasser Arafat began regularly wearing one. StandWithUs, a self-purported pro-Israel advocacy organization, produced and paid for the ad.

...The StandWithUs ad was response to a previous ad by a group with an opposing view of the conflict. That ad by Friends of Sabeel-North America, a organization that supports the Palestinian Christian liberation theology movement, advocated that “peace and justice” requires an “end to U.S. military aid to Israel,” referring to decades-long aid which has transferred more than $100 billion from the United States treasury to the state of Israel. Read more

Thursday, January 27, 2011

B’Tselem report indicates rise in Home Demolitions in 2010

IMEMC-B'tselem- Demolitions by Israel of Palestinian homes in the West Bank tripled in 2010, figures from an Israeli human rights group showed on Wednesday, with a big increase in demolitions in the Jordan Valley.

Yearly figures published by B'Tselem showed that Israel demolished 86 homes across the West Bank in 2010, compared with 28 a year earlier.

Last year's house demolitions left 472 people homeless, almost half of them children.

Demolitions more than doubled in the Tubas region, which is in the Jordan Valley, rising to 51 from 24 in 2009 and leaving some 219 people homeless, 94 of them children, the group said.

They also increased sharply in Nablus, which also encompasses part of the central Jordan Valley, with 19 demolitions last year, compared with none the year before. Some 134 people were made homeless, 51 of them children. Read more

Threats to academic freedom surround pro-Palestinian college professors

Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a political science doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, has been fired from his position as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College one week before his course on Middle East politics was slated to begin.

The case was taken up by the Brooklyn College administration after a student enrolled in his course raised concerns that Mr. Petersen-Overton’s alleged pro-Palestinian bias would prevent him from conducting a balanced seminar. The student expressed these concerns with the political science department but agreed not to pursue further action until after the course actually began. However, this student contacted state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who then characterized Mr. Petersen-Overton as “pro-suicide bomber” in a letter to the college President.

In a response sent to Hamodia newspaper on Wednesday, Mr. Petersen-Overton expressed concerns “that a state official would denounce my work so strongly without, apparently, having offered it more than a cursory reading. [Hikind’s] press release … is slander pure and simple.” Mr. Petersen-Overton emphasized that his work has little to do with suicide bombers and that Mr. Hikind deliberately twisted his conclusions to make it appear otherwise.

“I was not contacted by Brooklyn College administration at any time during their decision-making process. This politically motivated action undermines CUNY’s longstanding legacy as a stalwart defender of academic freedom,” Mr. Petersen-Overton said.

The allegations against Mr. Petersen-Overton center on time he spent in the Gaza Strip working for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and on an unpublished scholarly paper that analyzes the symbolic place of martyrdom in Palestinian nationalism. Petersen-Overton’s detractors also took issue with the fact that, according to his personal website, he still maintains “close contact” with the Palestinian activist community.

Mr. Petersen-Overton’s academic work deals broadly with issues of identity formation in Israel and Palestine.

Israeli intolerance shows up on Internet, in Knesset, on the street

Los Angeles Times - Edmund Sanders- Racism, homophobia and religious discrimination seem to be more prevalent, taking the form of threats and even a government motion. But one journalist says the trend is just a sign of 'growing pains.'

Reporting from Jerusalem — The intent of the anonymous Internet video was unambiguous: "This person should be killed — and soon," read a message underneath a photo of Israel's deputy state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan.

His alleged offense? "Betraying" his Jewish roots by opening a criminal inquiry into racist threats and hate speech expressed on two Israel-based Facebook pages with statements in Hebrew such as "Death to Arabs."

It was the latest, and most overtly violent, sign of what many here are calling a wave of intolerance toward people of different races, religions, orientations and viewpoints.

From rabbinical prohibitions against renting homes to "non-Jews" to government crackdowns on left-wing activists, Israelis are grappling with their nation's identity and character.

Across the political spectrum, some see the struggle as a threat to Israel's democratic ideals. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, of the centrist Kadima party, warned that "an evil spirit has been sweeping over the country." Defense Minister Ehud Barak said a "wave of racism is threatening to pull Israeli society into dark and dangerous places."

Faced with a Cabinet move to force non-Jewish prospective citizens to declare loyalty to a "Jewish state," government minister Dan Meridor parted with fellow members of the conservative Likud Party in opposing the motion. After the motion won Cabinet approval, he said, "This is not the Israel we know."

A recent Israel Democracy Institute poll found nearly half of Jewish Israelis don't want to live next door to Arabs. But the list of unwanted neighbors didn't stop there. More than one-third didn't want to live next to foreigners or the mentally ill, and nearly one in four said they wouldn't want to share a street with gays or the ultra-Orthodox.

"A Time to Hate," was the headline in the newspaper Haaretz this month. Some have compared the hostile climate to 1995, shortly before a right-wing fanatic assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Read more

Jewish settlers execute 18-year-old Palestinian boy in Araq Burin, near Nablus

PNN- Israeli settlers near the village of Araq Burin, near Nablus in the northern West Bank, executed an 18-year-old boy with a single gunshot to the chest on Thursday afternoon.

An unconfirmed local source told Palestinian state-run news agency Wafa Adi Qadoush, 18, was killed while working in his Araq Burin field. Earlier reports of settler attacks in the Nablus area say settler attacks came from Yitzhar outpost, southwest of Nablus.

Eyewitnesses say they stayed in the area for more than an hour and a half after the shooting, waiting for medical teams to arrive. Qadoush’s body was taken to Rashidiya Hospital in Nablus.

Medical sources told Wafa that Qadoush had been shot once in the left side of his chest, killing him instantly, and added that the bullet left a small entry wound but no exit wound. He is the third youth to be killed in this area by settlers in the course of the past year.

The Israeli online newspaper Ha’aretz quoted a Palestinian complaint filed on behalf of the villagers that said Qadoush had been throwing rocks at settlers, who approached him and began to beat him, then shot him in the shoulder. A gunshot wound to the shoulder would not have been fatal. Read more

Weekly Report: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (20-26 January 2011)

PCHR- Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continued Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

· IOF killed a Palestinian at a military checkpoint near the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

· A Palestinian civilian was killed and another two ones were wounded by the explosion of a projectile left by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

· Two Palestinian civilians were wounded by IOF and a third one was wounded by the Israeli police in the West Bank.

· IOF continued to target Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip.

- A Palestinian farmer was wounded.

· IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

- Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded.

· IOF conducted 37 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones into the Gaza Strip.

- IOF arrested 22 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children.

· Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

- Israeli soldiers positioned at military checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children.

· Israel has continued to take measures aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem.

- A tunnel was established between Silwan village and the western wall of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

- The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem declared intention to confiscate areas of Palestinian land in Silwa village.

· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.


Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (20 – 26 January 2011):


During the reporting period, IOF killed a Palestinian man and wounded 3 others, including a child, in the West Bank. A Palestinian civilian was also killed and another two ones were wounded by the explosion of a projectile left by IOF in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian farmer was also wounded by Israeli gunfire.

In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers positioned at "Mavi Dutan" checkpoint to the south of Ya'bad village, southwest of Jenin, fired at a Palestinian man who was near the checkpoint. As a result, he was wounded by 3 bullets, and IOF denied him access to medical treatment for several hours. Later, IOF claimed that a gunman fired at Israeli soldiers, who repeated fire and killed him. The al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad) stated that the victim was one their members and went to the checkpoint carrying a machine gun to attack Israeli soldiers there.

On 23 January 2011, a Palestinian civilian was wounded by the Israeli police in Hares village, north of Salfit.

On the same day, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a civilian vehicle that was transporting a number of Palestinian workers near Hebron. Two workers were wounded. Read more

Chief Palestinian negotiator fingers former CIA, MI6 agents as source of leaks

PNN- Speaking on the Al Jazeera program “Without Borders,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat named Al Jazeera reporter--and alleged former CIA agent--Clayton Swisher and former MI6 agent Alistair Crooke as the source of the Palestine Papers.

Al Jazeera’s leak of nearly 2000 documents from 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has embarrassed the Palestinian Authority (PA), in particular Erekat and President Mahmoud Abbas, over their apparent willingness to compromise on sensitive points of contention such as Jerusalem and refugees.

Swisher, whose LinkedIn profile notes he has worked for Al Jazeera since November 2007, was labeled by Erekat a “CIA spy.” That accusation has not been confirmed, but the Israeli online newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Wednesday that Swisher used to work as a bodyguard in the Clinton Administration’s State Department.

According to Erekat, the other suspected leaker, Alistair Crooke, was a prominent agent in the British intelligence service MI6 and a close adviser to several high-ranking EU officials. Ha’aretz reported he is “considered close to officials in Hamas,” the Islamic group ruling Gaza that has benefited considerably from the damage to the PA caused by the Palestine Papers.

Erekat demanded that the US Department of State investigate Swisher to confirm that he was the source of the leaks, saying he and Al Jazeera were “inciting against our lives,” referring to his family. Read more

Jewish settlers torch Palestinian vehicle in Nablus

IMEMC- A group of extremist settlers torched, on Thursday at dawn, a Palestinian vehicle in Einabus village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The vehicle was torched at approximately 3 am. The perpetrators spray-painted "Eye for an eye – we won’t forget" in Hebrew next to it. The graffiti refers to a small illegal settlement that was evacuated by the army.

Ghassan Douglas, in charge of Settlement Files in the northern Part of the West Bank stated that a number of settlers of Yitzhar settlement, south of Nablus, torched the car of Bassam Yousef Rashdan while it was parked in front of his home.

Two days ago, the settlers attacked the same village and torched a bulldozer owned by a local resident.

The Israeli Police arrived at the scene and initiated a probe into the incident but did not conduct any arrests among the settlers.

The police believes that the settlers are avenging a recent order to demolish a number of illegal buildings in Bat Ayin settlement.

The settlers launched a number of attacks under what they call “price tag” targeting Einabus and other Palestinian villages near the Yitzhar illegal settlement. Read more

Rahm Emanuel's Father specialized in bus bombings in Palestine Wikipedia deleted the page about Rahm Emanuel's father in 2008. Makes you wonder.

Irgun, the army of Rahm Emanuel's father, is short for Irgun Zvai Leumi- "National Military Organization" in Hebrew, was a terrorist Zionist group that operated in Palestine, killing innocent Palestinians and British soldiers; blowing up buildings.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Note from Publisher: In an effort to assist our government in keeping information "transparent", we are publishing this important article by Wayne Madsen, on the father of Rahm Emanuel. You won't find his bio on wikipedia, or any where else easily accessed. It has been deleted.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held a top position in our country's leadership and his example of ethics and integrity is of the highest importance. This is not diminished regardless of his aspirations to leave the national spotlight and become the mayor of Chicago.

But, it seems, some secrets must just be harder to share. This revealing article will leave you with a better understanding of why no one wants to talk about Benjamin Emanuel. And why they should.
- Bonnie King

A well-placed British source informed WMR that Rahm Emanuel's father, Benjamin Emanuel, specialized in the terrorist bombings of buses carrying British troops and policemen during the British Mandate in Palestine.

British MI-6 files contain information on the elder Emanuel's participation in the terrorist activities of Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Jewish terrorist organization that targeted British forces, UN officials, and Palestinian Arabs in the lead up to Israeli independence in 1948.

Emanuel's father Benjamin was part of the Israeli assassin team that murdered Sweden's Count [Folke] Bernadotte in '48. Bernadotte was the UN envoy in Palestine who sought to find a solution to the UN Partition Plan that gave Palestinian land to Jews from "beyond the pale."

Benjamin Emanuel, a Jew from Russia whose real name was Ezekiel Auerbach, was arrested by British police for terrorist activities in the months prior to Israeli independence. Many of the British policemen killed by Emanuel and his Irgun colleagues between 1947 and 1948 had been transferred to Palestine upon Indian and Pakistani independence in 1947. Irgun saw the increase of British policemen from the Indian subcontinent as a major threat.

The Jewish terrorist murders of British troops and policemen resulted in massive anti-Jewish riots in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Cardiff in 1947. In 1946, Emanuel's Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people, including 28 British soldiers and policemen. Read more

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Israeli forces beat Palestinian Non-Violent Popular Committee leader beaten; arrests 2 children

IMEMC- Following the arrests of Karim Saleh al-Tamimi and, his brother, Islam, the leader of the Popular Commitee Against The Wall & Settlements in Nabi Saleh, Bassam Tamimi has been arrested, on Wednesday, along with two fifteen year old boys.

Bassam Tamimi was taken from the village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, at midday on Wednesday, and according to eye witnesses was beaten during during the process of his abduction. Tamimi was released an hour later, and confirmed the eye witness report, but the whereabouts of the two fifteen year old children are, as yet, unknown.

Karim al-Tamini, ten years old, was arrested on Tuesday, but was released after seven hours in custody to his father, due to the work of an Israeli law firm.

His brother, Islam, fourteen years old, was abducted in a pre-dawn raid on Sunday, and was brought before a court today. Following his abduction, the second in three weeks, Islam was interrogated for eight hours.

He was denied access to legal council for the first five hours, during which he confessed to throwing stones during the weekly protest against the annexation wall, and his parents were denied access to their son during the interrogation; a their legal right. Read more

Israeli man who murdered Peace Now activist to be released

IMEMC- Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that an Israeli citizen who killed an Israeli peace activist in 1983 will be set free on Wednesday. Yona Avursham, was convicted in 1983 of throwing a grenade into a group of peace activists protesting in front of the office on Israel’s Prime Minister.

The explosion killed Emil Grunzweig and left nine peace activists wounded. Haaretz said that he commuted his 27-year sentence and will be freed Wednesday. He was initially sentence to a life term but the sentence was reduced to 27 years.

Avursham was granted an early release in August 2001 following a decision made by a parole board that was headed by Israel’s Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy. The judges conditioned the release with having Avrushmi participate in a rehabilitation program, and to remain under constant supervision of a social worker, Haaretz added.

The State prosecution appealed the decision but the court decided that Avursham “does not pose a threat to the public”.

The Israeli Prison Authority said that Avursham “met all conditions and requirements for his release”, and that, in recent months, he has been living in a minimum-security hostel and was even allowed to leave the prison on holidays and certain occasions.

In addition to the fact that he threw a grenade into a peaceful crowd, Avursham’s prison record shows that he often engaged in hostilities with the prison guards and the authorities, and even stabbed and wounded two prison guards. Read more

Ireland upgrades Palestinian Mission to Embassy

IMEMC- On Tuesday, the Irish government announced it's decision to upgrade the status of the Palestinian mission to the country, the official Palestinian representative office, to the level of an official embassy.

The move comes following a similar decisions made by several European countries including Spain and France.

Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Israel believes that the Palestinian Authority is acting on persuading nearly a dozen E.U. countries to upgrade the Palestinian diplomatic status, and that currently Denmark, Malta, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Britain are considering similar recognition and upgrade of status.

The recent developments angered Tel Aviv while the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing regret over the Irish decision. Read more

Peru recognizes Palestinian state

IMEMC- Peru announced on Monday night it recognizes a Palestinian state, becoming the eighth South American country to do so amidst a growing momentum towards global recognition, media agencies reported.

Peru recognized a "free and sovereign" Palestinian state on the eve of a Latin American-Arab summit, to be hosted in Lima, indicating strengthening of political and economic ties between the two regions. Read more

Israel appoints Irishman to 'investigation' panel who is founder of Friends of Israel; deliberated whitewash technique

FDL blog - Siun- Ok, so I feel really dumb. When looking at the announcement of the Israeli “investigation” which attempts to bypass standard international law to coverup the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, I noted there was an Irishman and a Canadian on the panel – though without voting rights. I was distracted by the White House’s wholehearted statement of support for this whitewash – and missed the rest of the story.

What I missed – insert palm to forehead here – is that the Irish member is none other than David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist party and most recently a founding member of the Friends of Israel, a little select group of pals including John Bolton and Dore Gold which was formed on the day of the Flotilla murders:

"The initiative is being launched now, its sponsors said in a statement, because of their outrage and concern about the “unprecedented delegitimation campaign against Israel, driven by the enemies of the Jewish state and perversely assumed by numerous international authorities.”

…In fact, today Israel is a fundamental actor for the future of the West. Although the peace process is important, the members of Friends of Israel Initiative are more concerned about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran since these are threats affecting not only Israel, but the entire world.”

… Just as the sponsors of this Initiative believe, there is no West without Israel.”

Trimble is also a member of the Henry Jackson Society, closely allied with Richard Perle, James Woolsey and William Kristol. The HJS has been busy blogging it’s positions on the flotilla and these posts suggest just why member Trimble was such an appealing addition for the Israelis. In addition to suggesting that Turkey may have just been fronting for Iran in the support of the flotilla, and some dire warnings to “peace activists” who are really terrorists, the HJS blog sums it all up here:

"The whole controversy and furore surrounding Israel’s convoy raid is an utter farce and highlights some disturbing ironies and double standards.
This was undeniably, unequivocally and inexorably a political ploy and by no means a humanitarian mission to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza. This was a political ploy with the purpose of provoking Israel into unwarranted aggression, provoking international outcry, further isolating the country, breaking the siege and causing Israel unparalleled humilation."

As the BBC’s Ireland correspondent wrote about the appointment of Trimble:

"One would assume that if David Trimble’s name has got this far it’s been approved by the Americans, maybe as far up as Barack Obama.”

Less is known about Canadian Ken Watkin, former military judge advocate general – except that he apparently stonewalled the House of Commons inquiry into whether Canadian troops turned over Afghan detainees to be tortured:

"A House of Commons committee investigating what the federal government may have known about possible prisoner torture in Afghan jails ran into a brick wall Wednesday, with the military’s top lawyer refusing to answer questions.

Brig.-Gen. Ken Watkins, the military judge advocate general, claimed solicitor-client privilege about whether he’d seen warnings from a diplomat in Kandahar and whether he’d received direction from the prime minister’s office.

“Obviously the coverup continues,” said Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh. “It is not part of solicitor-client privilege to hide who instructs you or who your client is. If the (Prime Minister’s Office or Privy Council Office) instructed these individuals, we ought to know.”

Watkins’ office was copied on reports written by diplomat Richard Colvin in 2006, which laid out stark warnings about possible torture in Kandahar jails. Senior members of the Conservative cabinet say they never saw the reports.

The judge advocate general has the power to order military police to conduct an investigation if wrongdoing is suspected.

Watkins refused to say whether he — or anyone else in his office — saw Colvin’s reports…

New Democrat defence critic Jack Harris said the military’s top lawyer had a duty to act, if such startling information was before him.

“He should tell us and he should be able to tell us if he became aware of allegations,” Harris said.

Watkins refused to say whether he’d seen published annual reports from the Foreign Affairs Department that detail Afghanistan’s abysmal human-rights record. At one point, Watkins wouldn’t even acknowledge whether he had read newspaper accounts of torture allegations."

As Uri Avnery wrote today in response to the Israeli announcement:

"This behavior does not bode well for Watkin ‘s willingness or ability to participate in exposing facts which might prove embarrassing to the Government of Israel."

Meanwhile Turkey, which has opened an investigation into the murder of 9 of its citizens in the raid leading toward possible prosecution has not been given a seat at the table and continues to push for a genuine investigation:

Turkey has “no trust” that a commission set up by Israel to probe the deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships would conduct an impartial investigation, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.

“We have no trust at all that Israel, a country that has carried out such an attack on a civilian convoy in international waters, will conduct an impartial investigation,” Davutoglu told reporters. Turkey insists that the May 31 raid, in which eight Turks and a dual Turkish-US national were killed, be investigated by a commission “under the direct control of the United Nations… an impartial one with the participation of Turkey and Israel”, he said.

Israel however has a lot of trust in this arrangement:

"ISRAELI PRIME minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the committee of inquiry being set up by Israel into the naval raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla will “make it clear to the world that Israel is acting legally, responsibly and with complete transparency”.

He said that exposing the facts “will prove that our aim was to conduct a defensive operation according to the highest standards”. Mr Netanyahu spoke ahead of yesterday’s unanimous cabinet vote endorsing the formation of an “independent public committee” chaired by former supreme court judge Yaakov Turkel."

And why shouldn’t Netanyahu be confident? As Gush Shalom notes in the announcement of their intention to petition the Israeli Supreme Court to stop this whitewash:

"The commission’s terms of reference exclude in advance all the main points which should be investigated.

…The Tirkel Commission’s terms of reference do not include looking into the decision-making process which led to bloodshed on the high seas, to the killing of nine people whose purpose had been to reach Gaza rather than clash with Israeli soldiers, to blackening Israel’s image throughout the world and to the complete shattering of the alliance with Turkey …

Nor will the commission be able to look seriously into what actually happened on board the boats during these fateful moments. The commission is specifically and explicitly excluded from calling any soldier or officer to testify…"

Sounds real “impartial, credible, and transparent investigation,” doesn’t it? Read more

Rice: Send Palestinian Refugees to South America

CBS News-World- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested giving Palestinian refugees land in South America as an alternative to letting them return to their former homes in Israel and occupied territories, according to a report from the British newspaper the Guardian.

Rice made the comments at a meeting in June 2008 with American, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Berlin, according to minutes shown to the Guardian.

"Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind. Chile, Argentina, etc (ie, give land)," Rice said, according to the minutes.

The minutes are not verbatim, but have the initials CR before the quote. Rice was the only one there with those initials.

Chile has a large Palestinian community that dates back more than a century, the Guardian reports. Both Chile and Argentina have large tracts of sparsely populated land.

In the spring of 2008, 117 Palestinian refugees were transferred to Chile, a few months before the Berlin meeting. The group of refugees had lived in Iraq for several years, but were in a camp along the Syrian border following the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Chile accepted the group after a U.N. appeal. Read more

Pres. Obama, We Know How to Help Cut the Deficit--End Aid to Israel

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation- Last night, President Obama drew bipartisan applause during his State of the Union address when he called for reducing our country’s growing deficit and staggering debt.

We agree with these goals and want to do our part to help. As the President prepares to send his FY2012 budget request to Congress next month, we recommend that he cut the deficit by eliminating his anticipated, record-breaking request for $3,075,000,000 in military aid to Israel.

Israel misuses the U.S. weapons it purchases with our hard-earned tax dollars, in blatant contravention of the Arms Export Control Act, Foreign Assistance Act, to commit human rights violations against Palestinians forced to live under its illegal 43-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

We can think of much better uses for our taxes. So today we’re excited to re-launch our campaign to challenge military aid to Israel in 2011. At our website:, our interactive map shows how much money your city, county, Congressional district and state provide in military aid to Israel. It also shows you the quantity of health care, education, housing and jobs training this money could purchase instead.

When you visit our web site, you'll find these other ways to help us challenge U.S. military aid to Israel this year:

* Have your organization join us, along with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Code Pink, Global Exchange, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Action, and Progressive Democrats of America, in endorsing our letter—“We Cannot Afford Military Aid to Israel”—to the White House and Congress.

* Send your own personalized letter to the President and Congress opposing $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel in this year’s budget.

* Join 2,000 people from 49 states and nearly 800 cities in signing up to educate and organize people in your community to end military aid to Israel. When you sign up, we’ll send you a free, new and improved organizing packet with postcards, flyers and fact sheets.

* “Offset” the taxes you pay in military aid to Israel by making a tax-deductible contribution to the US Campaign. Based on IRS data, we estimate that the average individual taxpayer will provide Israel with $21.59 in weapons this year.

Analysis: New York Times uses biased Turkel history to report on biased Turkel report

Mondoweiss - David Samel- There have been many critical examinations of New York Times articles on this website, and I’ve had my share of such posts to the point where it has gotten tiresome. But there is literally an endless supply of material. A particularly irksome error appears in today’s paper, in an article by Isabel Kershner on the shocking (!) finding of the Turkel Commission that Israel acted legally in killing nine passengers on the Mavi Marmara. While the Times article is worthy of more in-depth analysis, there is one whopper that stands out above all others:

'Israel imposed its maritime blockade on Gaza in January 2009 during its military offensive against Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza. The commission justified the blockade on security grounds, citing a need ‘to prevent weapons, terrorists and money from entering the Gaza Strip, and the need to prevent the departure of terrorists.’

Note how the first sentence is presented as objective fact, that the blockade was imposed in January 2009 during Israel’s attack, thereby supporting the Commission’s claim in the second sentence that the purposes of the blockade were solely military. Anyone paying minimal attention to the Gaza siege knows full well that Israel had been punishing the entire civilian population by severely curtailing the availability of basic goods since at least 2006, including by land or sea. Prior to 2009, there had been several attempts to bring in such civilian goods by sea, with mixed success; some ships were allowed to pass and others were stopped, or even rammed by the Israeli Navy, like the Dignity in late December, 2008.. Where did Kershner get her starting date for the naval blockade? From the Turkel Commission Report itself, which stated in par. 5 of its Summary:

'After the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Government adopted various measures. On January 3, 2009, during Operation ‘Cast Lead,’ Israel imposed a naval blockade on the coastline of the Gaza Strip. . . the Government of Israel imposed the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip for military-security reasons, which mainly concerned the need to prevent weapons, terrorists, and money from entering the Gaza Strip, and the need to prevent the departure of terrorists and additional threats from the Gaza Strip by sea. The naval blockade was not imposed in order to restrict the transfer of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip or to disrupt the commercial relations of the Gaza Strip. . . . '

The naval blockade was imposed on January 3, 2009? What was it called before that date? What transformed an existing “blockade” of land and sea into some other type of “naval blockade” or vice versa? How could Kershner buy the nonsense that the naval blockade was implemented as late as January, 2009, with the goal of keeping weapons out of Gaza? This is not a trivial mistake, but a truly profound one. Israel’s long-standing policy of deliberately restricting a civilian population’s access to food, water, medicines, fuel, books and toys is generally viewed by all but the most cold-hearted as sadistic and cruel, not to mention illegal. There is a vast difference in public perception between keeping out arms and keeping out such basic necessities. In the wake of the Mavi Marmara murders, there was a thoroughly dishonest but reasonably successful campaign to re-cast the blockade as one that was designed to keep out military supplies only. It’s no surprise that the Turkel Commission continued in this effort, but how could Kershner forget what had been a continuing news story for three years before Cast Lead? Of course, if Kershner’s amnesia could have been cured had she glanced at the Ha’aretz article on the Turkel Commission, which accurately records: “The Turkel Commission also determined that Israel's three-and-a-half year blockade of the Gaza Strip does not break international law.”

This is the way lies become history. This is why so many believe that there were thousands of rockets launched from Lebanon against Israel in 1982 and again in 2000-2006, prompting the two “wars”; that Arafat initiated the Second Intifada of terrorism to win with violence what he failed to win through negotiations; that Israel’s siege of Gaza was to keep out weapons. Every time these factoids are repeated in the newspaper of record and similar MSM outlets, they become more ingrained in the collective memory. Even if Kershner did not deliberately lie, she was inexcusably lazy and careless in simply repeating a critical misrepresentation by the Turkel Commission, rather than accurately reporting an undisputed fact. Read more

US threat to Palestinians: change leadership and we cut funds

The Guardian- The Obama administration has privately made clear that it will not allow any change of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, the leaked papers reveal, let alone any repetition of the Hamas election victory that briefly gave the Islamists control of the Palestinian Authority five years ago.

That is despite the fact that the democratic legitimacy of both the
Palestinian president and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and prime
minister, Salam Fayyad, is strongly contested among Palestinians, and there
are no plans for new elections in either the West Bank or Gaza.

"The new US administration expects to see the same Palestinian
faces(Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyad) if it is to continue funding the Palestinian
Authority," the then assistant secretary of state David Welch is recorded as
telling Fayyad in November 2008. Most of the PA's funding comes from the US
and European Union.

Almost a year later, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reacted
angrily to news that Abbas had threatened to resign and call for new
presidential elections. She told Palestinian negotiators: "Abu Mazen
[Mahmoud Abbas] not running in the election is not an option – there is no
alternative to him." The threat was withdrawn and no election was held.

The US consulate in Jerusalem reported to Washington in December 2009 that
"despite all its warts and imperfections, Fatah remains the only viable
alternative to Hamas if Palestinian elections occur in the near future,"
according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The US government's private determination to use its financial and military
leverage to keep the existing regime in place — while publicly continuing to
maintain that Palestinians are free to choose their own leaders — echoes the
Bush administration's veto on attempts to create a Palestinian national
unity administration after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in the summer of

Unlike the PLO, Hamas rejects negotiations, except for a long-term
ceasefire, and refuses to recognise Israel. Supported by Iran and Syria, the
group is classed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU.

The leaked documents quote General Keith Dayton, the US security
co-ordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority who was in charge of
building up PA security forces until last October. He warned Palestinian
leaders in 2007 about rumours that the "Fatah old guard" were undermining
Fayyad, who he confirmed as the linchpin of US strategy in the West Bank.

"As much as President Bush thinks Abu Mazen is important," Dayton told them,
"without Fayyad, the US will lift its hand from the PA and give up on Abu
Mazen." Unlike Abbas, Fayyad – a US-trained economist who formerly worked
for the World Bank and and the IMF – is not a member of the secular Fatah

Abbas was elected president in 2005, but his mandate expired in 2009 and is
no longer recognised by Hamas, among others, as the legitimate Palestinian
leader. Fayyad was appointed prime minister by Abbas after the Hamas
takeover of Gaza but his legitimacy is also strongly contested as his
appointment was never confirmed as required by the PA's parliament.

The Obama administration's determination to keep control of who runs the PA
underlines the continuity of policy from the Bush years. In the runup to the
2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza, the then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice
was revealed in leaked US official documents to have as good as instructed
Abbas to "collapse" the then joint Fatah-Hamas national unity government.

The dependence of the existing PA and PLO leadership on US support is well
understood by those leaders, as the documents underline. Referring to
Obama's attempt to kickstart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2009, US
state department official David Hale told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat: "We need the help of friends like you."

Erekat replied that the US president's "success is my survival".

The US consulate in Jerusalem reported in December 2009: "It is axiomatic
amongst our contacts that Fatah remains the only near-term alternative to
Hamas in Palestinian politics. Despite the toll of corruption and stagnant
peace process, our contacts believe that only Fatah has the national
liberation credentials, breadth of appeal and organisational structure to
mobilise and win a Palestinian election for the foreseeable future ...
Despite all its warts and imperfections, Fatah rermains the only viable
alternative to Hamas if Palestinian elections occur in the near future."

President of Bard College defends right of students to form chapter of the International Solidarity Movement

Statement of Bard College President Leon Botstein Regarding the Bard ISM Student Organization Controversy

Over the past several weeks, Bard College and I as its President have been the object of unsubstantiated, exaggerated, and often vitriolic accusations regarding a student group on campus that has chosen to affiliate itself with an organization called the International Solidarity Movement. Some of those who have posted on blogs and written emails claim that ISM is a “terrorist” organization committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and its people. The information on the Bard ISM student website is being misrepresented to suggest that the college and its students are involved with illicit activities, encouraging and training terrorism.

When the first allegations came to our attention, I asked that College representatives meet with the students involved and find out the facts. The facts are, first, that ISM, like all student organizations at Bard, is neither sponsored nor endorsed by the college. No student organization represents or has ever represented the College. Student organizations are founded and supported by students and speak for them alone. Second, ISM's activities, like those of all other student groups, are guided by the general rules of the College. There are dozens of student groups at Bard, ranging from the Bard Christian Fellowship, Chess Club, and Black Student Organization, to the Jewish Students Organization, Musical Theater Company, and Darfur Action Campaign. The policies of the College include a steadfast commitment to the fundamental civil rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. With respect to violence, the College has a clear no-tolerance policy. Although there may be a constitutional right to bear arms under certain circumstances, that right cannot be exercised on the Bard campus. We aspire to a standard of civility, including the freedom from fear of violence, appropriate to an institution of higher learning.

Our investigation has shown that the students affiliated with ISM have done nothing that remotely resembles the accusations leveled against them and the College. They have exercised their proper right to free speech and assembly. They have invited speakers and held meetings. I have asked members of the College administration to maintain close contact with the group to insure that their actions remain within College regulations and US law. Contrary to what one might assume from recent hostile postings, the ISM operates legally within Israel and the United States and does not appear on any State Department terror watch list.

From what I have read, I personally do not share the views of ISM or the members of the small Bard student group, but that difference of opinion is precisely what needs protection. The students have every right to organize and to affiliate so long as no laws are violated. Accusations regarding improper use of facilities or improper conduct require evidence and due process. Slander and hyperbole are insufficient.

Particularly in the wake of the shooting of US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, I want to take this opportunity to urge those who are outraged by ISM to temper their rhetoric and look at the facts. At stake here at Bard is not terrorism or violence, but a deep disagreement regarding politics in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Colleges and universities must be safe havens for freedom of expression and dissent on the most sensitive and contentious issues. Crucial to a democracy and the education of its citizens is the ability, with civility, to listen, learn, understand, debate, and rebut ideas and claims, particularly those we find wrong or dangerous. Ideas we fear cannot be fought through censorship. If we believe the views of others to be seriously in error, we need to use argument, reason, and evidence to persuade. Creating a climate of fear by obscuring the truth, engaging in character assassination, exaggerating the facts, and suggesting the existence of activities that do not, in fact, exist is not constructive. Insulting those with whom one disagrees, vilifying them, and impugning their integrity are not proper means in a college environment—or in the public arena of democracy—to register dissent and advocate one’s opinions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"The Palestine Papers" and what they reveal about the US/Israeli agenda

Counterpunch - Kathleen Christison- Many people told them so -- told them, meaning told the United States and Israel and even the overeager Palestinian leadership, that the Oslo agreement in1993 wasn’t fair, that it made too many demands of the Palestinians and virtually no enforceable demands of Israel; that the United States, no honest broker or neutral mediator, was looking out only for Israel’s interests and cared nothing for Palestinian concerns; that the peace process breakdown at Camp David in 2000 was not the fault of the Palestinians but was the responsibility of President Clinton and his “Israeli lawyer” advisers for representing only Israel’s needs; that while Clinton demanded Palestinian concessions, he was winking at Israel’s steady expansion of settlements and land grabs in Palestinian territory; that Clinton’s two successors did the same.

Many analysts told them that hopes for a genuine two-state solution died in the 1990s -- indeed, were never realistic -- because Israel, with U.S. knowledge and support, was swallowing Palestine, eating the pizza they were supposed to be negotiating over, as many Palestinians have said. But no one in power in the United States or the international community or in the media listened.

Someone may have to start listening. This U.S. complicity in Israeli expansionism, and the desperate acquiescence of the Palestinian leadership in Israeli demands for its surrender, have now been exposed in the massive document leak by al-Jazeera. Dubbed the Palestine Papers, the collection of almost 1,700 documents was obtained from unknown, possibly Palestinian, sources and covers a decade of “peace process” maneuvering. So far, there is only silence from the Obama administration, which is implicated in the documents along with the Bush and Clinton administrations. But reaction around the world is voluble and hard to ignore.

Palestinians, the documents show, offered compromises that verge on total capitulation. At a time in 2008 when talks with then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were coming to a head and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pushing hard, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and his colleagues offered Israel the 1967 borders, the Palestinians’ right of return, and Israeli settlements on a silver platter. The Palestinians would have agreed to let Israel keep all settlements in East Jerusalem except Har Homa; allowed Israel to annex more settlements in the West Bank (altogether totaling over 400,000 settlers); agreed to an inequitable territorial swap in return for giving Israel prime West Bank real estate, and settled for the return of only 5,000 Palestinian refugees (out of more than four million) over a five-year period. And still Israel rejected the package of compromises, which they said “does not meet our demands” -- presumably because their principal desire is that the Palestinians simply disappear.

The Palestinian eagerness to offer Israel such massive compromises has been the most prominent story from the Palestine Papers thus far, but the story of the pressure one U.S. administration after another has exerted on Palestinian negotiators to make these concessions and accommodate all Israel’s demands shows U.S. conduct throughout almost two decades of negotiations to be perhaps the most cynical, and indeed the most shameful, of the three parties.

United States negotiators, from Bill Clinton’s team, through Rice, to Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell today, have consistently treated the Palestinian leadership with humiliating derision. In the fall of 2009, Hillary Clinton asked Erekat why the Palestinians were, as she remarked snidely, “always in a chapter of a Greek tragedy.” Mitchell treated Erekat with similar contempt. During a meeting in 2008, Rice dismissed a Palestinian request for compensation for refugees forced to flee their homes in 1948 -- a demand that goes to the heart of Palestinian grievances -- with the remark that “bad things happen to people all around the world all the time.”

Policymakers clearly couldn’t be bothered. Scat, these Americans said to the pesky Palestinians in effect; we’re not interested in your silly grievances. In a blunt commentary on al-Jazeera, former CIA officer Robert Grenier has written that his reaction to what the Palestine Papers reveal about U.S. conduct is “one of shame.” The U.S., he says, has always followed a path of political expediency, “at the cost of decency, justice and our clear, long-term interests. More pointedly, the Palestine papers reveal us to have . . . demanded and encouraged the Palestinian participants to take disproportionate risks for a negotiated settlement, and then to have refused to extend ourselves to help them achieve it, leaving them exposed and vulnerable.” The papers “further document an American legacy of ignominy in Palestine.” Read more

"Palestine Papers" expose US as dishonest peace broker

Council for the National Interest Foundation

Any remaining illusion that the United States has ever been an honest
broker in Israel-Palestine peace talks vanished yesterday. The Arab
news outlet Al-Jazeera released a nearly 1700 document dump on the
negotiations for a two state solution with a promise of more to come
over the next few days. It's disappointing, but too often the case,
that the U.S. mainstream media has not extensively covered the story.
But the explosive facts are now out there, visible for everyone to
see. The papers include background memos and reports of meetings and
negotiating positions focused on the time period 2008-09. Britain's
Guardian newspaper describes the documents as a chronicle of “the slow
death of the Middle East peace process.”

The Palestinian negotiators, it is now clear, offered far more both at
Annapolis and at Taba Egypt peace talks than anyone not directly
involved in the process believed at that time. They were willing to
cede control over most of East Jerusalem as well as nearly all the
ground on the West Bank on which the major Israeli settlements
contiguous to Jerusalem were located. The major Muslim holy site the
al-Aqsa mosque, Harm al’Sharif, would have been subject to what chief
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat described as a “creative” solution,
possibly being placed under control of a special commission. Erekat
described the concessions as creating the “largest Jerusalem in
history” under Jewish control.

The Palestinian diaspora would have no right of return to their former
homes in Israel and Israel even floated the idea of expelling its Arab
citizens and resettling them on the West Bank. It was virtually a
complete capitulation, the result of a powerless illegitimate entity
that does not reflect the will of its people having to deal with a
very powerful opponent totally supported by the world’s superpower.
The Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni declared that the Palestinian
concessions were not enough as the Palestinians had balked at
conceding one major settlement Har Homa that blocked their access to
their rump portion of Jerusalem from the West Bank. Livni wanted 100%
and was supported in her obduracy by President George W. Bush and his

The Palestinian people have rightly been shocked by the concessions
being considered in their name, but it is a sign of the desperation of
their negotiators striving for a settlement at nearly any price as
they watch continuing acquisitions of land and settlement building on
the West Bank by the Israeli government.

If the Palestinian people believe they have been betrayed by their
leadership that is something they will have to deal with themselves.
But the American people have also been betrayed by a phony process
that has dragged on for years at great cost to the taxpayer while
inflicting terrible damage on the international standing of the United
States. Israel continues to receive $7 million a day directly from the
U.S. Treasury plus much more in earmarks and tax deductible donations
used to fund illegal settlements. Throw in the billions that have gone
to Egypt and Jordan to keep the peace with Israel, and the total costs
to the United States have been staggering.

The Council for the National Interest believes that the unconscionable
posturing and blank check granted to successive Israeli regimes by
both Democratic and Republican U.S. Administrations acting under
pressure from the Israel lobby has effectively destroyed any
conceivable peace process. The United States has an interest in
encouraging a just settlement for the Palestinians and Israelis, but
it has instead frittered away its opportunity to serve as an arbiter
of the situation by consistently throwing vast sums or money at the
problem while simultaneously embracing Israeli “security” positions.
Security is genuinely an issue, but it is the security of the American
people, who are targeted by terrorists as a result of Washington’s
embrace of Tel Aviv. American soldiers overseas are likewise the
targets of militant groups who use the repression of the Palestinians
as a recruiting tool and morale booster. Enough is enough. Israel is
not part of the United States and the damage deriving from the
relationship should be suggesting to everyone in congress and in the
media that it is time for a change of course.

We are witnessing the collapse of the misguided American project in
the Middle East and the specter of irreparable harm to U.S. security
and international standing. The Council for the National Interest is
calling for a new and rational direction. U.S. interests must come
first and they demand a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian question
that is rooted first and foremost in International law and consistent
with American professed respect for human rights. Anything less would
be another of a series of profound errors by successive U.S.