The Palestinian Authority’s authoritarian turn

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 30 April 2009

Appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the opening ceremony of the Presidential Guards College in the West Bank city of Jericho, March 2009. (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/MaanImages)

Last week, less than two weeks after I had talked with him in his an-Najah University faculty office, Abdel Sattar Qassem was arrested by the Palestinian Preventive Security forces in Nablus, occupied West Bank.

Qassem is a 60-year-old professor of political science, and has been at an-Najah University since 1980. Imprisoned several times by the Israeli occupation, he is the author of dozens of books and papers, as well as hundreds of articles, on Palestinian politics and Islamic thought. But Qassem is also an eloquent and prominent critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and he has been arrested, and targeted by politically-motivated attacks, on a number of previous occasions.

The most recent of these was in January of this year, when his car was set alight. According to a news report from the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, claim of responsibility was circulated by an unknown group who accused Qassem of being a “mouthpiece for the Iranian and the Syrian regimes.” As reported by Asharq al-Awsat, Qassem pointed out how the statement was a “hoax,” and thus a cover for individuals who did not want to openly identify themselves. The attack was condemned by a variety of public figures “in the harshest possible words,” according to Ma’an.

This time, the official line is that his arrest was a civil, criminal case, the result of litigation proceedings against Qassem by two figures within the PA’s security forces. The Palestinian Information Center reports that Qassem, who according to his family was arrested hours after he gave an interview to al-Aqsa TV to discuss the shooting of West Bank Hamas leader Hamid al-Bitawi, insists that the charges are groundless and politically motivated. Speaking to me on the telephone after his release, Qassem noted:

“It was evident that they didn’t want to arrest me on a political basis, so they decided to fabricate something against me. Last Thursday, in court, there were many lawyers trying to represent me, because they feel like this is a national issue. They see that this is intimidation, not a genuine civil case.”

The attempts to intimidate a critic of the Palestinian Authority into silence is disturbing, but is only one incident in a growing trend. The Ramallah-based political leadership, dominated by Fatah, and the PA security forces, are becoming increasingly authoritarian, encouraging a culture of militarized policing and a lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law. Now, nonviolent resistance leaders against the Israeli occupation like Sami Awad, based in Bethlehem, are saying that they “have to be ready to face any injustice even if caused by our own people, within the PA.”

One aspect of this phenomenon is an assault on the freedom of the press. Back in December of last year, the Ma’an news agency carried out an investigation into what it described as “an unprecedented campaign of censorship and intimidation against West Bank and Gaza Strip journalists,” carried out by the Palestinian Authority.

The report detailed how independent news agencies had become targets for “President Mahmoud Abbas’s security establishment, particularly the PA’s Office of the Attorney General.” The same month as Ma’an’s investigation, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate demanded that the PA release journalists from West Bank prisons, noting that “some journalists had been in prison for more than three months.”

Criticizing the PA, or even affording Hamas coverage, now seems enough to get on the blacklist, or become a target for the PA’s security apparatus. In fact, a Nablus-based journalist “found himself in a prison cell” in January for reporting the torching of Professor Qassem’s car, according to The Jerusalem Post. In February, the Post reported that “the PA’s crackdown on the local media was aimed at intimidating Palestinian reporters and stopping them from reporting about financial corruption and human rights violations by Abbas’s security forces.”

Another worrying trend in the PA-administered areas is an increasing militarization of civilian policing. During my recent visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, one of the first things several of my friends told me about was an energetic campaign by the PA to clamp down on car-related crime. There were now impromptu checkpoints thrown up on the main roads where drivers’ licenses were checked and the special permission required to drive Israeli yellow-plated cars was requested.

Nobody minded, in theory, increased efficiency in law enforcement; what was troubling was the way the PA forces were going about it. It can seem like a small thing, a friend told me, but “it’s this militarization, this way of asserting a kind of domination over the people.” Many complained of the disrespectful behavior of the gun-toting men checking the cars.

This focus on “law and order” has become a repeated theme in the last few years, particularly in cities like Nablus and Jenin. Just recently, in a fairly typical episode, Ma’an news agency reported that PA forces conducted a “sweep” in a village three kilometers from Nablus, arresting apparent “fugitives” and checking the registration of some 250 cars.

Consistent, genuine complaints about lawlessness and corruption in Nablus had already emerged in 2004-05, but it wasn’t until the end of 2007 that the current campaign was launched by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, whose official term as PA president expired in January. Beginning in Nablus, the law and order drive was replicated in Jenin in the summer of 2008. Residents have undoubtedly welcomed the increased security, but the nature of the campaign — and the context — is not so straightforward.

For example, the PA’s infrastructure (largely destroyed by Israel in 2001-02) is completely ill-equipped. In April 2008 in Nablus, for example, Reuters reported that only 13 percent of the prison’s inmates had actually been convicted; the restrictions of occupation and the inadequacy of the PA’s legal system mean that many face a long wait before their guilt or innocence can be determined in a court of law.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military continues to invade PA-controlled areas, particularly at night, an arrangement which was actually a joint Palestinian-Israeli agreement. Moreover, while a weary Palestinian population is grateful for small economic upturns in their occupied cities, they are well aware that the PA’s law and order focus is a welcome part of Israel’s strategy in the West Bank; the BBC noted in December last year how the Israeli army was pleased with the “good job” Palestinian forces were doing.

One of the reasons for Israel’s complimentary report card is the extent to which PA forces have been arresting members of groups who oppose the official “peace process,” and in particular, detaining those who are either openly, or simply suspected, members and supporters of Hamas. According to the International Middle East Media Center, estimates give the number of detainees in Palestinian security forces’ custody at between 500 to 600, many of whom have had no trial.

The secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat, himself a prisoner in an Israeli jail, noted just last week in a public statement that it was “impossible” for the PA “to demand freeing the detainees [from Israeli prisons] while the Palestinian prisons are full of prisoners jailed for resistance background or internal disputes.”

On 4 December of last year, Reuters reported on the claims being made of torture at the hands of Mahmoud Abbas’ Preventive Security forces and General Intelligence. The article cited Ghandi Rabei, a lawyer from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) in Hebron, who told the news agency that “hundreds of civilians have been transferred to military courts without legal procedures in breach of Palestinian law and international norms.” The ICHR’s annual report for 2008 recorded 111 complaints of torture or mistreatment in detention in the West Bank, according to Agence France-Presse.

On 31 January, the British Daily Mail ran a story under the dramatic headline: “Financed by the British taxpayer, brutal torturers of the West Bank.” The paper reported how the British government’s Department for International Development had given 76 million British pounds in 2008 to the PA for what it called “security sector reform.” Once the figure is broken down, 3 million pounds went directly to the PA police, while “17 million [pounds] pays the salaries of the PA’s array of security organizations — including the Presidential Guard intelligence service and the feared Preventive Security Organization.”

One of the most important factors shaping these developments is the US strategy as directed on the ground by Lieutenant General Keith Dayton. Dayton started work with the Palestinian security forces at the end of 2005. While ostensibly charged with general reform of the PA security forces, it became apparent that the US was intent on building up Abbas-loyal PA forces in order to directly confront Hamas should the need arise.

Dayton’s plan involved giving the PA forces an increase in funding, manpower, training and weaponry. In October 2006, The New York Times reported that the US intended to expand Abbas’ Presidential Guard at a cost of $26 million. At the time, it was clear that any such plan — which also included “the transfer of thousands of guns from Egypt” to the Presidential Guard — would only go ahead with a “positive response from Israel,” according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, this “systematic effort to bolster Abbas and his Fatah loyalists to counter the political success of Hamas” suffered an embarrassing setback, of course, when Hamas forces easily triumphed over Fatah in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and thus “inherited thousands of guns, equipment and vehicles supplied by the United States.”

The only lesson learned, however, seems to have been that the US, Israel and the PA could ill-afford a similar debacle in the West Bank — and therefore Dayton’s work was to be intensified, rather than reconsidered. This, then, is what has been happening with increasing fervor in the West Bank in recent months.

On 27 February 2009, The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner wrote about the 1,600 Palestinians who “have been through American-financed courses in Jordan.” Dayton, the article said, “hopes to have a well-trained battalion based in each of eight West Bank cities” (plans to expand the program were also reported by Reuters this week). The Israelis, needless to say, are content to cooperate: an Israeli officer “inaugurated the firing range” at one of the US-funded Palestinian training camps.

Whether it is the “top brass” training provided by the US for Palestinian security officials in Ramallah, or the special “SWAT” team organized by Dayton, Salam Fayyad and the Jordanians, it is clear that the primary purpose of these forces is not neighborhood crime-busting. As the World Tribune reported in the case of the SWAT team, the “elite” forces can be used against “Hamas squads” and help “protect the PA.” As one critic put it, the PA’s security agencies in the West Bank are trained to “persecute resistance elements and provide Israel with intelligence with which to arrest or assassinate resistance leaders.”

Shawan Jabarin, general director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, agrees that these training programs are more about internal suppression than “law and order”:

“If the senior officers who train them taught a respect for the rule of law, I’m sure we would feel that — but our feeling is completely different. I’m not saying they are training them how to torture people, but they don’t put any mechanism in place for monitoring these things. For political reasons, the Palestinians are trying to show that they are strong, that they are doing exactly what the others are asking them to do — this happened during [Yasser] Arafat’s time, and it’s also [happening] these days.”

If there was any doubt about the real purpose of these forces, one just needs to listen to Dayton himself. Dayton stressed to The Jerusalem Post in December that “the trainees are taught over and again that ‘you are not here to learn how to fight against the Israeli occupation.'” That’s why Dayton could affirm that he, the Israeli Ministry of Defense and his “IDF [Israeli army] colleagues” are of one mind: “something new is out there” and “it’s worth encouraging.”

It may not be new — one only has to go back to the mid-1990s to find something similar happening — but PA forces are certainly being encouraged to suppress dissent. While Israel was attacking Gaza in January, The Jerusalem Post described how the PA’s crackdown on the opposition in the West Bank was “being carried out in coordination with the IDF and under the supervision of US security experts.”

These were the very same police officers who had “received special training in Jordan and the West Bank as part of a security plan engineered by the US,” and were apparently reporting directly to Salam Fayyad. Israeli “security officials” “praised” Mahmoud Abbas’ “iron-fist policy” in the West Bank, reported The Jerusalem Post and “expressed satisfaction with the coordination between the PA security forces and the IDF and Shin Bet [Israel’s internal intelligence agency].” Sometimes, “Hamas members were detained by the IDF only hours after they were released from PA detention centers.”

So why have key elements within Fatah and the PA decided to go down this path? It seems like the Ramallah-based political and intelligence elite are primarily driven by fear; fear of losing their power and privileges, and fear of Hamas. More specifically, there is a real sense that Hamas’ popularity has not suffered any kind of significant fall since 2006, and if anything, has been consolidated or increased.

At the same time as Hamas has emerged intact and uncompromising from Israel’s recent Gaza onslaught, the Fatah-dominated PA has nothing to show for its strategy of softly-softly negotiations; just an entrenched, apartheid-like Israeli occupation. The “peace process” has brought Israel a degree of peace, but left the Palestinians trapped between Israel’s colonies and wall. The PA’s only card is that it continues to pay the salaries of thousands of desperate Palestinians — money that is only forthcoming from the international community with strings attached.

Meanwhile in Nablus, Professor Qassem, who is considering a run for president in the future as an independent, feels like the PA “is reflecting its inner crisis against the population”:

“So instead of going back to their own people they are trying to punish their own people. Why? Because there is Dayton, and the money of the donor countries, which they cannot sacrifice. If they want to go back to their own people, they will lose their salaries, and the situation in the West Bank will be similar to that in Gaza.”

This is a deal that was made many years ago, but it has meant that there is a class of political leaders in the PA who are seemingly eternally wedded to the idea that the international community is directing the peace process in good faith. For reasons of self-interest, they are desperate to keep the PA, and all the assumptions of Oslo, alive — even while sometimes admitting that in terms of obtaining basic Palestinian rights, there is, and will continue to be, nothing to show for meeting the “benchmarks” and “roadmaps.”

If the US/Jordanian-trained PA security forces are the “stick” in the West Bank, then the manipulation of foreign aid is the “carrot.” This is beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth mentioning in passing two recent Reuters reports on how “ventures backed by President Abbas’s allies have received loan guarantees, grants and agricultural assistance.”

At a critical moment for the Palestinian people, and the prospects for the region as a whole, it is arresting that many in the Palestinian leadership can sound like they are reading from Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman’s speech notes, when he said that “the path forward” lay in “security” for Israel, an “improved economy” for the Palestinians, and “stability for both,” as reported by The Jerusalem Post. As Shawan Jabarin said to me, “for political reasons you make a compromise and sacrifice human rights. This is what is going on these days.”

These are dangerous developments, something that Professor Qassem was quick to highlight in an interview with the Palestinian Information Center after his recent arrest: “Freedom of speech and expression is a paramount issue over which there can be no compromise … If we tolerate violations of our human rights and civil liberties, then we will be jeopardizing our future as a people.”

Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer whose articles have appeared in the Guardian’s ‘Comment is free’, The Electronic Intifada, the New Statesman, and many others. His book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide (Pluto Press), will be published this summer. He can be contacted at ben A T benwhite D O T org D O T uk.

Soldiers Confirm Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

Soldiers Confirm Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

‘Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist’, said the commander.

By Kim Bullimore

Testimony given by Israeli soldiers involved in Israel’s 22-day December-January assault on Gaza to a pre-military preparatory program at the Oranim Academic College in Israel on February 13, and which the March 18 Haaretz daily began printing daily excerpts of, revealed that they repeatedly committed crimes with impunity in Gaza.

One soldier, a squad commander, revealed that his unit was instructed to open fire in densely populated areas without warning. “We were supposed to go in with an armoured personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally meaning “cruel”] to burst through the lower door [of Palestinian houses], to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified — we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?” He said his commanding officers “said this was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault.”

The squad commander said that Palestinian civilians were suppose to be given five minutes’ warning to leave their houses. However, many soldiers under his command challenged this, one soldier saying, “Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist”. According to the squad commander, that sentiment was backed up by other soldiers under his command who said, “We need to murder any person who’s in there … any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist”.

‘Do Anything You Want’

According to the squad commander, the soldiers believed that “inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want”. He went on to say that commanding officers did little to counter this attitude and that it was permissible “to write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can”.

The squad commander also related that soldiers under his command killed an old woman was who walking down the road. When asked why this happened, he responded, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: you see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon.”

According to another soldier, the descriptions of the squad commander were accurate. A third soldier said that lax rules of conduct within the attacking Israeli army also resulted in the death of many Palestinian civilians. In one incident, Israeli troops occupied a Palestinian house for several days, detaining the family who owned the house. According to the soldier, after a few days an order came through to release the family. However, not all the soldiers were informed “and they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go”. As a result, a mother and her two children were shot dead.

According to Rachel Johnson, an Australian human rights activist with the International Solidarity Movement, the testimony of the soldiers is just the tip of the iceberg. Johnson, who entered Gaza two days after the war concluded, visited dozens of Palestinian villages and cities, taking testimony and writing reports about the attacks on Palestinian civilians. Along with other international human rights activists, she also provided international accompaniment to Palestinian civilians who were still coming under Israeli fire, despite Israel’s supposed unilateral cease-fire.

Johnson told Direct Action that while it was clear that Israeli soldiers were allowed to act with impunity in Gaza, this “was part of a broader sanctioned policy by the Israeli military that sought to deliberately target Palestinian civilian infrastructure and Palestinian civilians”. She noted that the Israeli military wantonly destroyed civilian houses during the three-week bombardment. “Of the thousands of houses that were destroyed during those three weeks of ceaseless bombardment, the vast majority were in villages that were close to the Green Line [the 1949 armistice line] … In these areas that were harshly targeted during the attacks, entire neighbourhoods were wiped out, with the devastation being total”. She recounted that “in Gaza city, locals often now struggle to orientate themselves”, because “buildings were not just bombed, but the area was then bulldozed, altering the landscape utterly”.

Bulldozers Used against Residents

According to Johnson, Palestinian civilians not only endured aerial bombardment, but many residential areas were either destroyed by military bulldozers or by the placing of “internal explosives by Israeli ground forces”. She told DA: “The huge civilian death toll is largely a result of the fact that houses were destroyed while the residents were still inside”. She said that in the village of Khoza’a, “Israeli bulldozers tried to bury more than 200 of the residents of the village alive, using debris from the bulldozed houses … When they tried to run, they were shot at … Finally they were able to crawl away and most of them survived.” However, 15 people were killed in Khoza’a on that night. In addition, 150 houses were destroyed. Johnson told DA that “the bombing of houses created an intense level of fear and helplessness among the residents of Gaza”. She “often encountered the rhetorical cry ‘Where could we go? There is nowhere that was safe. We would think to go to the school, but they bomb the schools. We would go the mosque, but they bomb the mosques.’”

White phosphorous was used widely in Gaza, Johnson said. Use of munitions containing white phosphorus is illegal in populated areas under international law. It causes severe burns and death because it is easily absorbed into the skin and burns through soft tissue to the bone and vital body organs, resulting in multiple organ failure. Johnson said many Gazan children are suffering from severe white phosphorous burns. “Doctors in Gaza simply don’t know what to do with these burns, which are very common”.

Johnson noted that the Israeli military also repeatedly attacked medical personnel and hospitals during its war on the civilian population, recounting that a number of her colleagues who were in Gaza during the war were inside hospitals when they were being bombed by the Israel military. Johnson pointed out that the targeting of medical facilities or people seeking medical aid is a war crime under international law. Her testimony is corroborated by the Israeli-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR-Israel), which issued a report on March 23 noting that in Gaza the Israeli military repeatedly targeted medical facilities and medical teams in contravention of international law.

The report by PHR-Israel noted that in many cases the Israeli military refused to “give medical assistance to wounded human beings that were within several feet of soldiers” and refused to allow the evacuation of wounded or trapped civilians for days, leaving them in isolated areas with no food, water or medical treatment. PHR-Israel also noted that 16 medical personnel had been killed and another 25 wounded by Israeli fire while performing their duties. In addition, the report stated, “34 medical facilities were hit by the army, eight hospitals and 26 primary care clinics”. This was a “severe violation of directives of international law that forbid attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities”. PHR-Israel said that the actions of the military were “in violation of the army’s code of ethics, the medical code of ethics and basic human values”.

– Kim Bullimore has recently spent 12 months living and working in the Occupied West Bank with the International Women’s Peace Service She has a blog at This article was first published in the Australian newspaper, Direct Action She contributed this article to

Who killed Hariri??: A Tale of Four Generals and a ‘Revolution’


A Tale of Four Generals and a ‘Revolution’
Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 39

29/04/2009 In a record speed and a clear political background, the March 14 bloc spread accusations against the four detained officers of standing behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. Their main slogan was ‘down with the Lebanese-Syrian security system.”

Hours after the assassination, the well designed pictures of the four officers with different but unified and well organized comments, were raised during ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations where March 14 media outlets were mobilized against the four security officers as well as judicial and political figures.

Although accusations have never been linked to evidence, the “Cedars Revolution” camp – a term that then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the March 14 movement – had built its revolution on the glittering slogans of freedom, sovereignty and independence, and of course chastising the culprits, always written under the officers pictures.

When some of the public opinion and most of the international opinion was had fallen under the magical effect of Lebanese flags, revolutionary spirits and anti Syrian and Iranian slogans, it was time to move to the second phase: ‘Truth’

Then key witness in the Hariri case, Mohamad Zuheir Siddiq, had made false testimonies to the UN investigation panel headed by Detlev Mehlis to request the Lebanese judiciary – after slight changes were made to this body – to arrest the officers.

“The Truth” was the slogan that was feeding the March 14 campaign, however it was the political means for the Qornet Shehwan members and their allies to garner as much political gains as possible in the framework of the so called Cedars Revolution.

The four officers were detained based on this fictional slogan.
They have spent nearly four years in solitary confinement and harsh conditions without charges and without trial. Even the Washington, the sponsor of the Cedars Revolution, described the Generals’ detention as arbitrary.

These senior officers are:
Major General Jamil Sayyed, former General Security chief.
He served in the Lebanese army for 30 years and served another seven years in the General Security apparatus, until the fifth of June 2005.

Major General Mustapha Hamdan, Presidential Guards chief.
He was the only General –of the four officers- to remain in his post after the Hariri assassination.
Major General Ali Haj, former Internal Security Forces General Director.
He was appointed in 2004 as chief of the ISF.

Brigadier General Raymond Azar, former Military Intelligence chief.
He rarely appeared in public and had very little to do with the political and media milieus.

With their release, ends a long and exhausting period of delusions and fact distortions to derail the search for the true killers of martyr Hariri, particularly after this case had been purely politicized and diverted from the true and factual course that would eventually lead to the killers and perhaps compensate the four officers who lost four years of their lives behind bars, not knowing why.

STL Pre-Trial Judge Orders Immediate Release of 4 Generals
Readers Number : 130

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has decided that the four Lebanese General be released, after nearly four years of detention over the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri yet without charges or trial.

Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Francine ordered in a press conference the immediate release of the Generals. Francine has taken his decision Wednesday based on Judge Daniel Bellemare’s recommendation presented to the STL on Monday.

Shortly after the announcement, people took to the streets spontaneously to express their satisfaction and joy, and fireworks lit the sky of Lebanon.

Well informed judicial sources have told Al-Manar that procedure are underway to release the officers today as an STL representatives arrive in Beirut to follow-up on General Prosecutor Judge Daniel Bellemare’s decision on four generals’ case.

The officers are the former head of the presidential guard, Mustafa Hamdan, Security Services Director Jamil Sayyed, Domestic Security chief Ali Hajj and Military Intelligence chief Raymond Azar.

The court ruling was broadcast live on Lebanese television.

Whither the Tribunal?

Posted by Qifa Nabki under Lebanon, March 14, Syria Tags: , , ,
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BREAKING NEWS: All Four Generals Released(see below for update)

We are hours away from a potentially groundbreaking decision, vis-à-vis the detention of the four generals held in connection with Rafiq Hariri’s murder, the fate of the International Tribunal, and (further down the road) the outcome of the parliamentary elections.

Daniel Bellemare, prosecutor to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, handed over the investigation’s files to the pre-trial judge, Daniel Fransen, who must make a decision today regarding the detention of all suspects. As you may recall, Lebanese authorities released three of the seven suspects two months ago, but the generals (who have been held without charge for four years) are the high-profile figures that many in Lebanon’s ruling coalition were hoping would be implicated in the conspiracy. Nailing the generals, so the thinking went, would have established with virtual certainty Syria’s involvement in the crime, especially if the prosecutors were able to compel a confession along these lines from the generals themselves (”rolling them up”, in The Wire’s lingo…)

There is a possibility that not all will be released; some may be sent to the Hague while others are freed. Should they be released however, it will be hard to escape the conclusion that Syria is off the hook. Almost four years to the day when the last Syrian soldier trudged ignominiously over the Lebanese border, Syria may have finally wiped its hands of the entire Hariri debacle.

Update: Celebratory gunfire and fireworks, it turns out, are even more effective in communicating breaking news than Twitter. The generals are free. What this means for the future of the Hariri tribunal is unclear, but one can probably safely conclude that Syria is off the hook, barring any major surprises in Bellemare’s investigation. More on this soon enough…


Bush’s strangest Syrian bedfellow: At center of suspicion in Hezbollah leader’s car bombing


“Shawkat, by delivering the goods on the assassination of America’s “Most Wanted” Mugniyah, has ensured that he will now receive the protection of the Bush White House in the current UN investigation of car bombings in Lebanon, most notably that of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.”

Posted by Evelyn at Free Iraq


There have been so many signals that Assad is moving back (if he ever left) to the USraeli camp:
– Attending Annapolis.
– Secret and not so secret negotiations with Israelis.
– Improved relations with Jordan.
– Improved relations with S.A.
– Next Arab summit is being held in Damascus.
– Helping the puppet Maliki government in Iraq.
– Handing over to the U.S. occupation some leaders of the Iraqi resistance who were in Syria.
– Cooperation with the occupation to seal the Syria-Iraq border.

And more.

It is no secret that the U.S.-Saudi plan has been to break the Iran-Syria “alliance.” This will do it.

# posted by Tony : 2:05 PM Comments (17)

Don’t forget to read the 17 comments


General Hajj: I Will Wear My Uniform Again, It’s My Right
General Azar: God Forgive All Those Who Offended Me
General Hajj: We Had Hoped Lebanon Judiciary Had Taken Decision, Not STL
General Sayyed: Hariri Should Hold Judges Mirza and Sakr Accountable
General Sayyed: Hariri Either Deluded or Traded Politics With His Father
General Sayyed: Hariri Wants Truth, However Associates Don’t
MP Hariri: Some Lebanese Feel Disappointed at Tribunal Decision
General Sayyed: Jailer of Martyr Hariri is March 14 and its Media
General Sayyed: Generals Released, Only Prisoner Left is Martyr Harire



Watch these short videos and you will understand from whence most of the problems of Zionism arise. Then do more research yourself. I have touched upon this in my previous writing on The Protocols of Zionism. But there is more, so much more. And remember, NOT ALL JEWS subscribe to these obscene beliefs, just the few and the powerful who seek to subvert all to their ways.

You will understand the cruelty then that allows soldiers to shoot small children innocently minding their family goats, as was done a few days ago to a 13 year old boy. See previous post for this. You will understand why they do as they do and why the soldiers obey their rabbis. They have been taught the ways of the Talmud from childhood and know no better. This is what explains the hideousness of so many settlers and their belief that they are right to steal all they can from the Palestinians.

The Babylonian Talmud ~ Translated by Michael L. Rodkinson, [1918]

There is one admission I have to make however. I see a lot of quotes around, many of which are disputed most earnestly by various Zionist writers. I was going to type them in here, but I found there to be too much controversy about them being taken out of context and, in truth, I can understand this being done. Everyone who wishes to demonize “the other” does this. You will find many of them repeated in the videos below.

Since I have a few of these videos, why limit myself to the one? Here is another on the Babylonian Talmud.




Posted by Barbara L at 2:18 AM Links to this post

The Dahiya Strategy – A Painting

The Dahiya Strategy – A Painting
Readers Number : 175


Painting and description by: Luke Kendall
When a building is disassembled, you lose its facade and its very structure is revealed, you see what it is made up of.
The same can be said of when countries decide to partake in strategies such as the ‘Dahiya strategy’: it removes the facade and the PR illusions, and reveals the true values of a country. Values are an essential component of conflict, and it can tell you alot about what a country stands for.
The painting is named after a military strategy approved by the israeli military, which is basically to use disproportionate military force against countries it considers it’s enemy. When implemented in Dahiya, the objective was to completely level a number of high story apartment blocks during the 2006 Lebanon war, with no regard to civilian casualties or world opinion.
The events that happened in Dahiya weren’t accidental, or a breakdown in communications, it was a calculated strategy that was monstrously executed, as a warning that israel knows no limits to what it is prepared to do in ’security’ actions.
Luke Kendall-London-April 2009



Part of the Warsaw Ghetto Wall today

Arthur Topham explores the reasons for the apartheid wall, and reveals that the Pharisees never really went away.
by Arthur Topham
April 14, 2009.
“What is called “Western civilization” cannot be conceived without Christianity… Its greatest improvement was in the field of the spirit and of man’s behaviour towards man.

The West established men’s right to public charge and open trial, or release, (a right which was again in jeopardy in the Twentieth Century) and this was the greatest advance in the entire history of man; on the survival or destruction of this achievement depends his future.” – Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion

The old query about the half full or half empty glass is one that might aptly be applied to the massive concrete wall that now divides Palestinian lands into two respective ghettos ~ one for the Palestinians and, yes, one for the Jews. Current collective wisdom would suggest the wall was designed by the Zionist government of Israel for the simple purpose of maintaining control over stolen Arab territory as well as for ‘security’ reasons but this proposition I suggest is much too simple and too misleading.

Internationally renowned street artist Banksey
calls the wall the greatest canvas he
wish for but would prefer to see it torn down.

Deception of the non-Jewish masses, the guiding principle of the Mossad and the Jewish state, demands that one look much deeper into such a surface explanation. For Israel to convince a world now extremely skeptical of its modus operandi, that its legitimacy as a nation and its actions toward the Palestinians are in fact justified, it must retain within its own arbitrarily chosen and illegal captured territories a populace that will support and promote its racist, expansionist agenda.

The recent polls taken during the slaughter and destruction of Gaza over the Christmas season which registered a 94% approval rate for Israel’s military crimes is a poignant example of just how crucial and effective this process of indoctrination really is. In order to have accomplished such a high degree of agreement for genociding a defenseless ghetto of starving refugees, there has to be something in place that goes beyond the normal apparatus of democratic structures.Because of the inherent contradictions imbued throughout Israel’s racist, delusive ideology ~ ones upon which the state was initially founded ~ the Talmudic leaders of this supposedly secularized “democratic” state have exhibited something that most commentators tend to overlook and that is the age old technique of building a fence or a wall around their chosen brethren in order to maintain a tight, rigid doctrinal control over the minds of those within; a critical prerequisite to sustaining the irrational tenets necessary to justify their otherwise fraudulent, immoral and illegal existence.

The technique of maintaining such control of its citizenry was perfected prior to the birth of Jesus Christ and as the famed British journalist Douglas Reed shows us in his classic on the subject, The Controversy of Zionism, even before Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 AD there were two different “bands of travelers” already passing through its gates.

In Reed’s words, “The disciples bore a new message to mankind, for Christianity had been born. The Pharisees, foreseeing the fate which they had brought on Jerusalem, removed to a new headquarters from which (as from Babylon of yore) the ruling sect might exercise command over “the Jews” wherever in the world they lived.
These two small groups of travelers were the vanguard of parties of light and of darkness which, like a man and his shadow, have gone ever since through the centuries, and ever westward. The crisis of “the West” today traces directly back to that departure from doomed Jerusalem nineteen centuries ago, for the two groups bore into the West ideas that could never be reconciled.One had to prevail over the other, sooner or later, and the great bid for victory of the destructive idea is being witnessed in our generation. In the centuries between, the story of the West was always, in essentials, that of the struggle between the two ideas.

When “the Law” according to the Levites and Pharisees was in the ascendant, the West made slaves of men, brought heretics before an inquisition, put apostates to death, and yielded to primitive visions of master-racehood; thus the Twentieth Century was the time of the worst backsliding in the West.

When the West made men and nations free, established justice between them, set up the right of fair and open trial, repudiated master-racehood and acknowledged the universal fatherhood of God, it followed the teaching of him who had come to ‘fulfill the Law’.”

The Wall of the Warsaw Ghetto

These prophetic words written in the mid-1950s predicted that the second half of the century would be but a continuation of this struggle between the forces of darkness and light, one culminating in either of the two being victorious.

Prior to the sacking and destruction of Jerusalem, the Pharisees had already skipped town and relocated in a new headquarters called Jamnia, still in Palestine. It was from there that they began to reassess the new kid on the block so to speak and work out a plan to rid the world of his seemingly enduring presence.

To their longstanding power and control over their Jewish brethren this new sect known as Christians were a direct threat to their power and influence. Here they were (the new ones) claiming that the Messiah had finally arrived and that he was proclaiming that the God of Abraham and Isaac and Israel was the God of all the people, Gentiles included and not just the god of the self-chosen Judahites.Such chutzpah on the part of this young Galilean upstart was anathema to the Pharisees and their Priesthood. They couldn’t, as Reed suggested, permit such a creed to gain prominence, especially one whose ruling tenet was “love your enemies” when that of the Pharisees was the polar opposite, stated the Jews should “hate” their enemies and destroy them down to the very last child.

As we saw in the Gaza example last December/January the deliberate shooting of defenseless women and children was living proof that their methodology has not changed in over two millennia. After Jerusalem’s destruction the Jewish Nation was broken up and dispersed throughout the world but the Pharisees at Jamnia continued on with their claims that they and only they possessed the true, oral “Law” purportedly secretly passed down from the God of Abraham into their hot waiting hands and retained by them and them alone ever since.

This of course flew in the face of all that Jesus Christ had taught throughout his ministry where he constantly berated the Pharisees and Scribes for claiming exclusive right to God and using that supposed occult knowledge for their own selfish purposes.The New Testament is full of such chastisements by the Messiah where he exposes the fallacies and falsehoods of this exclusionary, “self-chosen” tribal group. Nevertheless the Pharisees, being a tenacious, determined lot, persisted in maintaining that their secret, orally transmitted laws were the exclusive domain of their particular sect and no other, including the rest of the eleven tribes that had originally made up the bulk of what was once the true 12 Tribes of Israel.

Over the next few hundred years these oral laws would be formulated into what eventually became the Babylonian Talmud, a complex system of rules and regulations and rituals and superstitions compiled with the intent to create an atmosphere of perplexing, confining laws designed to captivate the tribe and breed an eternal hatred for the Messiah Jesus Christ and his followers who, because of the message that was spoken and believed in, posed a direct threat to their own power and design.
The Talmudic Pharisee’s method was to maintain a mental stranglehold over their fellow tribal members by, “interposing a fence between the Jews and the forces of integration released by Christianity.”

The ghetto thus became the traditional form of maintaining control over the intervening centuries and succeeded in keeping the majority of the Jews held in a cohesive amalgam right up until the 19th Century when conditions in the West, especially the new West of North America where freedom and liberty were the watchwords, began to draw the introverted, ghettoized Jews out and away from their confining, separatist dogmas and into a new world of integration with the rest of America’s immigrant population.This became a temptation too great to resist. It was during the 19th Century that the Talmudic powers began to realize the threat to their control posed by this new trend toward integration and liberty and thus set about organizing a more comprehensive plan to ensure their control over the ghettos remained intact.

Thus was born the nationalistic phase projected into the minds of Jews around the world. It was a fencing project to outdo any others before it and by the end of the 19th Century the plans were in place, spearheaded by Theodor Herzl and the Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe who gathered in Basel, Switzerland to form the World Zionist Organization in 1897. It’s objective the creation of “spiritual” homeland in the heart of the ancient Arab territory of Palestine.Probably the modern world’s first major heart transplant designed to gain the Zionist faction of World Jewry a long sought after foothold in the Middle East. Political Zionism in that sense became then the thought form which would, after fifty years and more of consistent lobbying and terrorizing of the Palestinian people, eventually precipitate down and manifest within the finite world of global politics into what became, in 1948, the entity known as the state of Israel.

A misnomer from the start the nation should have been called the state of Judah but in true form to its guiding principle of deception it stole its name from the true Israelites, like it stole its territory from the true Arabs. Since the establishment of this Talmudic state of Judahites in 1948, preparation began in earnest to re-create a new ghetto population that would be guaranteed to remain loyal to and complicit with whatever acts of terrorism the state chose to employ in their quest for greater and greater territorial gains.Finally, after close to sixty years of violence and endless broken treaties and continuous acts of terrorism against the Arab people of the region, the outcry from the rest of the world at the obvious injustices being committed, spurred the Talmudic masters of “Israel” to materially actualize their ancient mind-control methods to the point where they began creating in truly concrete form their mendacious techniques for ensuring control over their tribal members.

The world reacted in horror to these walls and automatically assumed that they were being built to create barriers to keep the Palestinians out of their sacred Talmudic territories. But while this was ostensibly a part of their rational the walls were more an attempt to increase the ghettoization of the Jews themselves so that their later actions, particularly the more brutal and insane attacks upon Gaza could somehow be justified and given a sense of actual legitimacy by the perpetrators of these most heinous of genocidal crimes.All the while the rest of the civilized world was forced to witness their evil intent whenever they turn on their television sets and watched the Zionist news broadcasts or pick up their Zionist newspapers and read about the latest atrocity being committed by these so-called “persecuted” and “victimized” members of the Talmudic tribe of Judea.

Now as if things weren’t bad enough already, all of these efforts by the Pharisees to keep their members trapped in a cult of hatred toward Christians, was only exacerbated six centuries later by the birth of Muhammad and another new religious faith that, like Christianity, also maintained there was but one God, Allah, and He was a God of all peoples just as the Christian God was.This new religion taught love for everyone and hatred for no other religions, especially the Christian religion and its Messiah Jesus Christ. Unlike the Talmud which heaped profanities and abuse upon Jesus and his Mother Mary, Muhammad held Christ in the greatest of reverence and recognized him as one of the great prophets in the lineage of Abraham.

Now the Talmudic Pharisees had a second religion that they needed to include in their plans for destruction, and as we can witness today, they’re doing their utmost to create hatred and dissension amongst the Christians for the followers of Islam in order to start another major war between two religions whose founders were in accord with everything that the Talmudic Jews despised and held in the deepest of contempt.

The final point brought that needs to be stated here is the fact that down through history and right up until the 20th Century, the most astute observers of civilized development in the West continually questioned and criticized the actions and motives of the Babylonian Talmudic tribe of Pharisees whenever they began to meddle to deeply in the affairs of other nation states.

But beginning with the take-over of the majority of the media in the West around the turn of the century, this practice began to cease and in its place began the efforts on the part of the Zionist Jews to attack any and all critics of their ideology with the endless epithets of “anti-Semite” and “racist” and “Jew Hater”, an enterprise that has today reached such epidemic proportions, that critics of present day Zionism lay wasting away in dungeons and website owners, university professors, researchers and critics everywhere are being accused of “hate crimes” throughout most if not all western nations.
All of these negative, dark designs by the Talmudic tyrants who control the state of “Israel” and the global institutions of media, money and manufacturing ,compose what is now the shadow thrown upon the world by a wall of deception that soon must be torn down if the world is to ever again know peace and harmony.

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Who killed Hariri??: A Tale of Four Generals and a ‘Revolution’

Bitter disputes within Fatah prevent it from holding its sixth conference

[ 29/04/2009 – 04:07 PM ]

AMMAN, (PIC)– Fatah sources ruled out that the sixth conference of Fatah could be held in the near future attributing this to the altercations that erupted between members of the preparatory committee on the mechanisms and the place of holding the conference.

The sources said, in a statement published Wednesday in the Saudi Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, that these disputes heated after members of the preparatory committee of the sixth Fatah conference called Hakam Balawi and Nasser Yousef traded insults over the increase of the conference membership.

According to the sources, Yousef strongly refused the proposal of increasing the conference membership and insisted the committee reduce the number of members from 2,900 members to about 1,500.

The sources added that Fatah inside the 1948 occupied lands rejected this reduction and tried to raise the number of members.

They noted that Fatah conference members are also wrangling over the place of holding this conference after Jordan and Egypt refused ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s request to hold the sixth Fatah conference in their lands.

In the same context, informed sources in Fatah revealed that Farouq Al-Qaddoumi, the political chief of the PLO and the secretary-general of Fatah, called, during the meeting of the preparatory committee, for preventing Mohamed Dahlan from participating in the sixth conference.

The sources added that Qaddoumi said to Mohamed Ghoneim, the head of the preparatory committee of the sixth conference of Fatah, that Dahlan and his gang, who led Fatah to the present situation and inflicted great harm on it, must not participate in the conference.

For their part, Ahmed Al-Nasr, a Fatah central committee member, and other senior Fatah officials gave a detailed account supported by evidence about the practices of Dahlan and his followers which led to the current setback of Fatah.

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