Review: Erasing the borders in "A Map of Home"

Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Electronic Intifada, 31 August 2009

Randa Jarrar’s A Map of Home is a beautifully achieved coming of age novel which follows a clever girl through a war, a domestic battlefield, and repeated forced migrations. For our heroine, these events are aspects of normal everyday life (because everything’s normal when it happens to you), like school, friends, family and shopping. Despite the geographical and cultural particularities of the story, the themes — of awakening sexually, of learning how to love a parent yet firmly say no, and of struggling for independence and a place in the world — are universal, and the book will appeal to all but the most easily shocked readers.

At the novel’s center is a family. The father, Waheed, is a Palestinian from Jenin exiled to a string of temporary residences. Resentful of his failure to develop a career as a poet, he projects his ambition onto his daughter, about whom Waheed is convincingly self-conflicted: he wants her to be a famous professor, but doesn’t want her to study away from home.

The mother, Fairuza, is a Greek-Egyptian mixture who owns a piano and a prodigiously large backside. Waheed and Fairuza’s fights are frequent and sometimes ugly.

Nidali — the name means “my struggle” — is the product of this complex marriage, a traveling Greek-Egyptian-Palestinian, and born in Boston for good measure. In America, “people would have assumed that Mama was a Latina, and that I, a cracker-looking girl, was her daughter from a union with a gringo, and that would have been that.” But it’s not.

The plot follows Nidali from place to place, the narrative voice seamlessly modulating as she grows from a Persian Gulf schoolgirl to sassy Arab-Texan chica. At first she considers cosmopolitan Kuwait home. This section of the novel delivers situational comedy at its funniest and most delicate, with an added dash of hyperrealism, as it offers closely observed descriptions of everyday, normal life.

For instance, a seven-year-old Nidali wonders who this “people of Ibrahim” her father asks God to bless at prayer time is, so her friend Zainab informs her that the Ibrahims are “a family that throws big barbecues at Eid.” Later, Nidali’s excessively religious cousin Essam comes to stay. He destroys her Wonder Woman (Nidali translates it “Woman of Wonders”) stickers, and when challenged declares that the superhero “is a shameless prostitute.”

Nidali wins a Quran competition and kisses her first boyfriend Fakhr who, like a low-brow version of Saul Bellow’s Herzog, writes letters to “presidents, actors, dead singers.” Soon Nidali herself has occasion to write an amusing letter to Saddam Hussein. The occasion is the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Bombs, bodies in the streets, and the mysterious presence of a black cat in the toilet won’t move her father to flee, but a shortage of za’tar will. The family moves through Iraq and Jordan to Egypt, where Nidali begins a new, less naive life chapter. Alexandria is certainly full of life — they arrive during an Ahli-Zamalek football match, men watching dashboard-mounted TVs as they drive — but the family is in extended and uncomfortable transition, until their move to Texas.

The absent home of the novel is of course Palestine, known from maps and snatched glimpses. Nidali remembers her grandmother’s stories, and being strip-searched at the Allenby bridge between Jordan and the West Bank. Beyond that, Palestinian identity is migration — “moving was part of being Palestinian” — and return denied. “I’d never see them again,” becomes a refrain.

It’s also obstruction. In airports, mother, father and child have to stand in different queues. Waheed can’t enter Saudi Arabia with his Jordanian “pity passport.” His wife’s Egyptian passport, and Nidali’s American, won’t work for Saddam’s Iraq. After the liberation, Waheed — because Palestinians were collectively punished for Yasser Arafat’s support of Saddam Hussein — is forbidden to return to Kuwait.

There’s a wonderful moment when Nidali erases the borders she’s drawn on her map of Palestine. “I stared at the whiteness of the paper’s edges for a long, long time. The whiteness of the page blended with the whiteness of my sheets. ‘You are here,’ I thought as I looked at the page and all around me. And oddly, I felt free.” Another advantage of homelessness is that the homeland becomes portable. “Our people carry the homeland in their souls,” says Waheed.

A Map of Home has a cartoon quality, so comparisons with Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis are valid. The novel form, however, provides it with extra dimensions of style and word play, and Jarrar’s writing contains unabashed metaphors reminiscent of Franz Kafka or Andrei Bely. Its exuberance is on display in such lovely sentences as: “Guilt descended like a fat mosquito and sucked out all our blood.” When Waheed rushes down a hospital corridor, patients and nurses see only “an enormous moustache with limping legs.” Fairuza’s hair is “a thought balloon hanging above her face.”

The book bulges with translated Arabic phrases, including lots of warm-hearted profanity. People curse each other’s religions, and worse, and exclaim “O eye!” mid-sentence. Hearing some of these expressions defamiliarized in English reminds you just how expressive they are — phrases like, “May God brighten the world for you.” A Map of Home is not just playing with language — it’s about language. Jarrar explores the condition of homelessness and cultural transplantation through the somersaults made by words. In Kuwait, for instance, she reads “an Egyptian comic called Meeky.” This eye for traveling words is reminiscent of Ahmed Alaidy.

As lyrical as Arundhati Roy or Mourid Barghouti, Jarrar’s pacing is tight and her dialogue approaches perfection. With light and loving characterizations that are entirely free of false romance, her tone is wry, sunny, very feminine and very powerful. A Map of Home is addictive reading.

Robin Yassin-Kassab has been a journalist in Pakistan and an English teacher around the Arab world. His first novel, The Road from Damascus, is published by Hamish Hamilton and Penguin. He blogs on politics, culture, religion and books at

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Israeli religious schools found to discriminate based on race


by Saed Bannoura
August 30, 2009

The Israeli Education Ministry announced Sunday that it would cut funding to three state-funded religious schools because they refused to enroll Ethiopian Jews simply because they were black.

The state had tried to compromise with the schools, saying that they only had to allow a few Ethiopian Jewish students in, as a token measure, but the schools refused.

Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to Israel face multiple forms of discrimination within Israeli society, some of which are inscribed into law.

In this case, the state-funded religious schools argued that since private religious schools in Israel are allowed to discriminate against Ethiopians, then they should be allowed to discriminate too. They had asked that the heads of private religious schools be included in their conversations with the Israeli government on the matter.

But the Israeli Education Ministry replied that the schools in question should be held to a different standard than private schools because they are state-funded.

Regardless of the outcome in the case of the three publicly-funded institutions, private religious schools in Israel will be allowed to continue discriminating against students based on race.


" … escalation against Syria is a warning from Tehran …"


A “Good piece” of Shit for TONY:

Asharq Alawsat, here

“… Syria is trying to arrange its political situation in the Arab world and internationally, and has taken steps in Lebanon. Some would describe these steps as being insufficient, however they are concessionary, particularly to those who follow the Syrian line. Confirmed information also indicates that there is a considerable disagreement between Syria and Hezbollah, …..

It would also not be rational for Damascus to allow the Baathists to attack from within Syrian territory, especially as the Americans have now opened up channels of negotiation with the Iraqi Baathists via Turkey, which is now Syria’s most important ally. …….This would only serve to put Syria in a dangerous international predicament. Even if Syrian interests call for the end of any pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, because Damascus does not want to find itself surrounded by [pro-Iranian] Iraq on one side, and Hezbollah’s Lebanon on the other, any act of sabotage at this level is an act of madness. …..All indications seem to point that the major beneficiaries of the Baghdad bombings are [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki’s rivals, who are also allies of Iran, and here we must not forget the new Iraqi Shiite coalition [the Iraqi National Alliance]……. Therefore the political escalation seen today against Syria seems to be a warning to Damascus, perhaps from Tehran, otherwise how could Iran accept this kind of escalation against its Syrian ally? …”

Posted by G, Z, & or B at 10:10 AM

Assad: Iraqi Accusations against Syria Immoral

31/08/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday said allegations that Syria was sheltering people suspected of involvement in devastating bombings in Iraq were “immoral” and politically motivated.

His comments came as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu embarked on a mediation bid between Baghdad and Damascus to defuse tensions which worsened last week when the neighbors recalled their respective ambassadors. Iraq has accused Syria of sheltering suspects allegedly involved in one of two devastating truck bombings that targeted government ministries in Baghdad on August 19, killing a total of 95 people and wounding 600.

“Syria is accused of killing Iraqis although it welcomes 1.2 million Iraqis (refugees),” Assad said at a joint news conference with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias. “Such accusations are immoral and political,” he said. “When accusations are not based on any proof, this means they are illogical in the eyes of the law,” Assad said, again calling on Iraq to present evidence about its allegations. “As soon as the accusations were made, Syria officially asked Iraq to send a delegation to Damascus with proof,” he said. “So far we have not received any reply.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign minister was in Baghdad on Monday for talks with Iraqi officials ahead of visiting Damascus later in the day in a bid to defuse the tensions. “We will try to re-establish an atmosphere of trust between the two sides,” Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before beginning his shuttle diplomacy mission.

Once upon a time……in the West


Once upon a time in the West ,
somebody decided to incriminate Libya
for the Lockerbee bombing

It was difficult , because Libya was innocent
so they imposed a boycott for a decade
until a suspect was created , produced and indited.

I call this blackmail… …….
( or guilt by exclusion )

20 years later the Libyan-Regime
exchanged their Oil for that same “guilty-person

I call this ” paying a ransom for the hostage takers”

When hypocrisy is practised by governments,
it is called : ” for humanitarian- reasons”

Sherlock Hommos
first day at the office !!!
31st of August 2009

Posted by Тлакскала at 1:14 PM



August 31, 2009 at 7:44 am (Censorship, Corrupt Politics, Education, History, Israel, Palestine, Uncategorized)


Leave it to the zionists to rewrite history. It’s reminiscent of the final years of the Soviet Union when the name Stalin miraculously disappeared from history books.

Now, the term ‘Nakba’ will be removed from Israeli textbooks. Heaven forbid a new generation of Israeli schoolchildren should know the truth about the creation of their country….. and at whose expense it was at.

Just imagine the outroar if the holocaust was removed from German textbooks… but, we know that won’t happen….. Israel would find a way to stop such a move.

Education minister: Word ‘nakba’ taken out of lesson plans

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar briefed the cabinet on plans for the start of the school year, and announced that the word “nakba” will be taken out of lesson plans.

“It can be said with certainty that Arab Israelis experienced a tragedy in the war, but there will be no use of the word ‘nakba,’ whose meaning is similar to holocaust in this context,” said Sa’ar. “The education system in the Arab sector will revise its studies about the homeland, geography, and society in elementary schools.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s latest scandal has come to light, involving former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. I can predict that whatever the outcome of his trial will be the courts will be lenient as he is suffering from prostate cancer. Olmert’s fellow criminal on the other side of the ‘pond’, Bernard Madoff will most certainly be released from prison soon on compassionate grounds. He too is supposedly suffering from cancer. Zionism, the common cancer among these criminals seems to spread to other organs at opportune times.

Former Israeli Prime Minister to face trial on corruption charges

Ehud Olmert, who served as Israeli Prime Minister until March of this year, was indicted Sunday on charges of corruption, breach of trust, fraud, income tax evasion, accepting bribes, and a number of other charges.ehud_olmert
Ehud Olmert (photo from wikimedia)

Olmert oversaw a particularly brutal string of attacks by the Israeli military while he was Prime Minister, including the January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip that left 1400 Palestinians dead. He has not been charged or investigated for these attacks.Instead, the former Prime Minister is being charged with a massive corruption scandal that allegedly ran through all levels of government when he was at the helm.According to the indictment, Olmert violated his oath of office “in systematic and drawn out activities for financial benefits … in different ways and from different sources … all in manners that contravened the law, the norms and the rules that obligate a minister and a public servant.”Several other members of Olmert’s cabinet have already been indicted on a variety of charges, including President Moshe Katsav, who was found guilty of rape.Olmert allegedly carried out a variety of nefarious activities both before and during his term as Prime Minister. Some of these included lying about contributions from a US citizen, inflating travel costs in order to pocket reimbursement checks, and using campaign donations to pay for the debts of a non-profit which supported him politically.Olmert’s communication advisor told Israeli reporters Sunday, “Olmert is convinced that at the court he will be able, once and for all, to prove his innocence.”


The Grand-father of the Terrorism


Double standards

are no-standards .


are Injustice.

and Injustice
breads more injustice
that then ,
it breads the Terrorism .

conclusion :
The Double Standards
are the grand-father of Terrorism

Sherlock Hommos
Back from the vacations !!

Posted by Тлакскала at 1:16 PM

Resolving the Displaced Persons Problem


By Dan Lieberman

Negotiators have continually debated the Middle East crisis without regarding the elephant in the room – the Palestinian displaced persons. Rather than being portrayed as victims, these dispossessed persons are often perceived as perpetrators, as if they caused their own ordeal and should shoulder the responsibility for their fate. It’s time to pay attention. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with those who have suffered the most, continue to suffer and should be relieved of their suffering. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with the Palestinian displaced persons. No matter how far ‘negotiations’ go, the displaced person solution will be the show stopper. Overcoming the problem at the beginning permits the show to continue. Saving it to the euphoric ‘end’ predicts neglect or a severe compromise that will endanger all previous agreements.

Place the refugee situation in its proper context.

Israel did not permit Palestinians who left or were evicted during the 1948 and 1967 conflagrations to return to their homes and lands. Assets, businesses, property and household items were confiscated and the owners were not reimbursed.

Israeli historian Benny Morris summarized the evictions well:

“I feel sympathy for the Palestinian people, which truly underwent a hard tragedy. I feel sympathy for the refugees themselves. But if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate, there was no other choice. It was impossible to leave a large fifth column in the country. From the moment the Yishuv was attacked by the Palestinians and afterward by the Arab states, there was no choice but to expel the Palestinian population. To uproot it in the course of war.”

Benny Morris used the correct phrase: “. if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate.” It was not legitimate. The choice was not between “having a Jewish state and not dispossessing the Palestinians.” The choice was between “not having the expanded state that Israel gained” and “dispossessing the Palestinians.” Almost all the evicted Palestinians were in the territory granted to the Palestinians. Not since the days of American expansionism has a group of individuals (Israel was not even a declared nation when the confiscations began nor had Arab armies attacked at that time.) invaded another land, seized the territory and cleared the area of the indigenous people. Hasn’t the world learned anything since Biblical times?

The exiled Palestinians are displaced persons and not refugees. The United Nations definition of a refugee is “a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.” Most of the Palestinians wanted to return to their homes, but they were denied entry. Some of them walked back to their villages from Ramallah or Bethlehem, after leaving for only two weeks, and found their homes occupied by Iraqis or other foreigners and were forced to leave again. Similar to situations during World Ware II, displaced persons fled the fighting. These were persons “forced from his or her country, esp. as a result of war, and left homeless elsewhere.” After the world failed to repatriate the displaced Palestinians, they were identified as refugees, which permitted then to be relocated to any land except their own.

Other misconceptions need correction.

Contrary to the intensive propaganda that describes the Arab nations as failing to assist the Palestinians, almost all Arab states opened their lands to them. Jordan and Syria eventually allowed the massive number of displaced persons to share in the social benefits and engage themselves in the economy. In Jordan, almost all Palestinians became citizens. Syria granted the Palestinians social and economic privileges normal to its citizens. Palestinians trained and worked in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Arab Emirates and Egypt. Only Lebanon, to where Palestinians were forced after a conflict erupted between PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein, denied the Palestinians access to normal public life. All this was done by impoverished Arab nations, who did not have sufficient resources for their own people and were politically unstable.

The nation that has refused to assist the dispossessed Palestinians has been Israel – the principal perpetrator of the refugee’s condition. Israel boasts of assisting Jewish refugees from Arab nations, but fails to mention that Israel’s policies made Arab nations suspicious of their Jewish citizens and Israeli intelligence forces instigated their emigration, which Israel sought. The Mizrahi served to occupy vacated Arab homes, boost the military and swell the Israeli population.

Another bit of propaganda exclaims that Arab nation leaders urged against citizenship for the displaced Palestinians. Naturally. The Arab nations felt the Palestinians would forfeit the Right of Return if granted citizenship and they would relieve Israel of its own obligations to the dispossessed persons.

Resettlement of these ‘refugees is not the only consideration. Most of them are without passports or attachment to any nation. The Right of Return, a right usually available to anyone driven from a land, deserves to be implemented. Displaced persons have severely overpopulated Gaza, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world and a tinderbox for social and economic upheavals. Gaza’s population needs to be severely reduced for the entire population to live comfortably.

Because the displaced persons are not a constituency and are powerless, their grievances remain at the bottom of the priority list. Some nations refuse to permanently accommodate them, which extends the problem to perpetuity, Due to insufficient space and resources in the West Bank (which has its own displaced persons camps) it will de difficult to relocate all of the displaced persons to a forecasted Palestinian state. Nevertheless, what does the world expect to happen to these long suffering persons; just continue to suffer for millennia and stir up terrorism? Rather than being an afterthought, the refugees should be the primary thought – where they stay, where they go, and how they are they are brought from their deprivation to take a deserved place in the world.

Naturally this will create problems for Israel, but didn’t Israel cause the problem? UN Resolution 194 clearly stated:

“… that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Refugees have always been allowed to return to their homes. Here again, the western world shows its bias towards Israel, even when faced with Israel’s contradictory policies.

Israeli courts have ruled that any person can petition the court to claim land, even after 100 years, and, if ruled in the claimants favor, evict the dweller. Jews have won many cases. Although it’s documented that Palestinians owned about 90 per cent of the land before partition, no Arab citizen has been able to exercise that right.

The Zionists promoted an unproven and historically disputable claim that all Jews are refugees from the land of their forefathers and have the ‘Right of Return’ after 2000 years. Why don’t Palestinians, all with historically proven claims, have the same right?

Can the Palestinian displaced persons problem be conveniently resolved?

Start with the number of Palestinian displaced persons.

According to BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights, the displaced Palestinian and their descendents are estimated to number about 7.1 million plus 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) in Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories (OPT). The latter IDP’s were forced from their villages but still live in Israel and the OPT. Figures are debatable but the information below from Badil categorizes the refugees in an approximate and accepted manner.

Lebanon – 460,490 in refugee camps.
Syria – 488, 656 listed refugees.
Jordan – 2,478,424 listed refugee of whom 2,200,000 are Jordanian citizens.
West Bank – 754,000 in refugee camps
Gaza – 1,059,584 in refugee camps
Egypt – 75,706 displaced persons
Saudi Arabia – 341,770 displaced persons
Kuwait – 43,718 displaced persons
Europe – 200,000 displaced persons
Other – 1,200,000 displaced persons

Note: Not all displaced persons are in refugee camps.

In Jordan, most Palestinian citizens are still registered as refugees. In the occupied territories, the populations have an undefined citizenship. In Syria, Palestinian refuges have access to most social services and economic opportunities but cannot obtain citizenship. Other category is not exaggerated. Chile has 300,000 Palestinians and many other Palestinians are unregistered and scattered around the world.

After validating the number and authenticity of the displaced persons, they will be presented with several choices:

1. During a five year period, nations where they reside will permit a portion of the displaced persons to become citizens. Almost all nations where Palestinians presently reside will probably offer citizenship, except for Lebanon, which fears another radicalized minority in its midst. Lebanon might allow a fraction, possibly about 100,000 persons to become citizens. Due to the Palestinians approaching a majority, Jordan might deny 200,000 Palestinians from receiving citizenship. In the other nations, Palestinians have become well established in the societies and contribute economically. Once the issue shows resolution and Israel concedes to meet its obligations, there will be no reason for these nations not to grant citizenship.

2. Over a five year period, western nations will offer to receive 1,500,000 Palestinians as immigrants. This is actually an obligation. Consider that the Partition Plan was doomed to failure and could only lead to what happened; the expulsions of the Palestinians to enable a predominant Jewish population in a Jewish state. The partitioned Jewish state had 495,000 Jews and 325,000 Palestinians and limited arable area for expanding the Jewish community. The immediate seizure of territory and expulsion of Palestinians were predictable, necessary to allow the Mizrahi from North Africa and the Middle East to emigrate and have suitable housing. Iraqi families were immediately placed in homes vacated by Palestinian families. Israel is most responsible for the dispossessions and planned destructions of Palestinian villages, but the nations that voted for partition without care and without thought of the consequences (except for the U.S. State Department who expressed doubts about the success of the partition plan) must share the blame and make amends.

In the United States, the Palestinian communities have proven to be the best citizens, exhibiting exemplary behavior – quiet, diligent, cooperative, moral, studious, educated, and with little attachment to crime or need for welfare. The Palestinians will integrate and contribute well in all nations.

3. Israel will vacate all areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that are in violation of the UN Resolutions. Except for Israelis or their descendants who can prove ownership of property in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before 1948, all other properties, installations, institutions and homes will revert to Palestinians. Being as Palestinian families are large and generally have been able to exist with less square feet of space, the vacated housing should accommodate about 750,000Palestinians. This is the least the state of Israel can do for the illegal seizure of Palestinian lands and the oppressed conditions in which subsequent generations have been forced to live.

4. Israel will admit 300,000 Palestinians who can show prior ownership of seized land. This requirement has several purposes: It provides a token resolution to a great injustice.
It informs the world that ‘human rights’ is not an empty phrase. It makes certain that a precedent no longer exists that allows the more powerful to seize possessions from the weaker. It removes a stain that would forever afflict the Jewish community. It presents the Arab world with a more satisfying perspective of western nations..

How does this work out?

Let’s use the BADIL figure of 7.1 million externally displaced Palestinians and 4.6 million offers to permit them to remain and acquire citizenship. The latter includes the 2.2 million who are already citizens in Jordan, the 456,000 who are quasi citizens in Syria, all other areas where Palestinians have already been integrated, and Lebanon permitting at least 100,000 to remain. Those in the West Bank and Gaza are not included in the offers. Consider that 10%, or 460,000, will refuse the offers and we still have 3.0 million displaced persons to rehabilitate. Certainly out of that figure there will be 1.5 million persons, many from Gaza and the West Bank, willing to immigrate to the western nations and situate among Palestinian communities that already exist in the western world. That leaves 1.5 million DPs. We then have 750,000 in the West Bank and Gaza moving to new home in the West Bank and 300,000 from all DPs moving back to Israel. That leaves only 450,000 displaced persons to find new accommodations in Gaza and the West Bank.

The population in Gaza and the West Bank will shrink by about 500,000, hopefully mostly from Gaza, which is now too overcrowded. Israel’s population within the Green line will increase by about 500,000 settlers and 300,000 repatriated Palestinians for a total of 800,000.

At first glance, this all seems improbable. It isn’t. Examining it carefully, if the displaced persons are granted citizenship in lands where they live, it comes down to only about 300,000 displaced persons from Lebanon and 200,000 from Jordan who are presently in UNWRA run refugee camps and another 460,000 from other nations who might refuse citizenship. The other displaced persons from the West Bank and Gaza warrant consideration, but they are presently on Palestinian territory and can be easily addressed.

The problem is not forecasted to be with the Arab nations. They will cooperate if they definitely know the western nations and Israel will cooperate. The problem is with the western nations and Israel, who have been delinquent in recognizing their participation in the tragedy and the violence that has developed.

Can anyone believe that Israel is not directly responsible for the Palestinian exodus? Did these people voluntarily decide to leave their homes, face starvation, have entire families commit suicide because of their desperation and then be willing to sit quietly in refugee camps? Are these verified reports of forced removals, terrorizing, killings and destruction of more than 400 Palestinian villages only stories? Why were the villages destroyed? Why weren’t the villagers allowed to return? Why were vacant homes instantly occupied? In Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere, the western nations have been firm in demanding prompt return of refugees and have fought to achieve that demand. The Palestinian situation is more insidious. In other situations, refugees had been created, but wanton property and asset seizures were not a rule. In Palestine, Israel seized all properties and assets and allowed newly arrived foreigners to occupy vacant homes. No precedent for these illegal operations exists in the post World War II western civilized world.

If western leaders stop behaving cowardly and do what they must do to resolve an unjust situation that can paralyze the world for perpetuity, the world will breathe more easily. The road to Middle East peace starts with the resolution of the Palestinian involuntary displaced persons and not with what least harms the East European voluntary displaced persons of Avigdor Lieberman and his crowd.

– Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter.
Dan’s many articles on the Middle East conflict have circulated on websites and media throughout the world. Contact him at:

Gilad Atzmon – Organ Donation and Theft in Contemporary Jewish Folklore


By Gilad Atzmon • Aug 30th, 2009 at 21:59 • Category: Analysis, Culture and Heritage, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad’s Choice, Israel, Newswire, Our Authors, Palestine, Religion, Zionism

Donation According to Larry David

In his highly acclaimed TV satire ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, LA screen writer and comedian Larry David engages courageously with subjects to do with American Jewish identity. In his fifth season (2005) David tackles the subject of organ donation (1). Performing an American eccentric and egotistical Jew David is confronted with a serious dilemma. His best friend Richard Lewis (another Jewish comedian) happens to suffer an acute kidney failure. His survival is dependent on an urgent kidney donation and as one may expect Larry David is the perfect donor. David, who comes across as the ultimate selfish persona in American popular culture is obviously reluctant to donate his Kidney. He procrastinates, finds excuses and plays games. He even tries to make friends with a wealthy Orthodox Jew who is in a position to ‘sort things out’ as far as kidneys are concerned. He does it all just to avoid donating his own kidney to his best and closest friend.

As the plot develops, David has hired a Private Detective to discover who his real parents are, David learns from this private detective that he is actually an adopted child. Once meeting with his genetic parents David also finds out that he is not exactly a Jew. He is actually a proper Christian of Scottish descent. David is very excited about his new ethnic identity and faith. Instantly, without giving it too much of a thought, he becomes an empathetic person. His egotistic attitude disappears without leaving any traces. He suddenly cares about others. He evolves into a sympathetic boring compassionate ordinary human being. It doesn’t take more than a few scenes before we see David attending Sunday service with his new ‘parents’ in their local Church. It is there where he learns from the priest that ‘to give’ is actually ‘to receive’.

David doesn’t waste a second. He understands it all. He instantly leaves the Church and takes the first plane to LA where he rushes to the Hospital with one thing in his mind; giving his kidney to his best friend Richard Lewis. In the hospital while in his final preparation for the transplant operation the nurse is overwhelmed by David’s devotion kindness and conviction. Throughout this transition into Christianity, the Larry David that we meet is very different to the selfish Larry David we knew. However, David’s heavenly inspired humanist metamorphosis doesn’t last long. On his way to the theatre, as he is lying on the trolley already under some heavy anesthetic, the private detective is seen rushing towards David along the hospital corridor. “Larry I made a mistake” he shouts, “you are not an adopted child.” In spite of the anesthetic, the penny drops instantly. David realises that he is a Jew. His Christian compassionate conviction fades immediately. His reaction is rather simultaneous: he is a Jew after all and Jews do not give their organs to others, not even to their best and closest friends. David, who is now heavily anesthetized tries to resist, he wants to run away and never to give his kidney but under the influence of heavy narcotics he happens to be too weak. Dragged into the theater he happens to be a victim of his own temporary non-Jewish kindness.

The immediate message posed by Larry David in the above episode is clear. Being a Jew is merely a state of mind. It is neither biological nor genetic. The transformation between (Christian) compassion and (Jewish) narcissism is rather cultural. It is almost a matter of choice. However, one thing is clear as far as Larry David is concerned: once transforming back into a Jew, ‘giving’ is simply out of the question. The Jew, as far as David is concerned, does not like to share, donate or give.

Harvesting Human Organs

In the last few weeks we have been following some interesting developments to do with Israeli organ theft and Jewish organ trafficking. Back in July Kidney trafficker Levy Izhak Rosenbaum from Brooklyn was arrested in New Jersey. The Federal complaint suggested that he was involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years(2). A US Attorney explained: “His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000.” Also in July another group of 30 Israelis were arrested in Romania, this time it was for human Egg trafficking. They were suspected of recruiting Romanian women aged between 18 and 30 and paying them around $300 for their eggs”. They would then resale the eggs for 40 times that amount to women

Earlier this week Alison Weir published a shocking yet comprehensive and detailed review of Israeli human organ trafficking and theft. Weir brings to light some staggering cases of organ theft. She starts with an alleged case of a heart being pulled out of a living person without the consent of the family (2). She also brings to light continuous reports of organs being robbed from Palestinian’s bodies (3)

The increasing attention to Israeli organ theft was fuelled a week ago by Swedish veteran journalist Donald Bostrom’s publication of an exposé of Israeli alleged organ harvesting in Sweden’s biggest paper Aftonbladet. Palestinians, he says, “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve”

From Venice to Tel Aviv

One may ask why it is that organ trafficking has become a ‘Jewish thing’. How is it that the Jewish state and Jewish people are so involved in such a repugnant and non ethical trade. One answer is probably obvious: it is a good business and there is hardly any competition, not many people are willing to make a living out of the trafficking or the theft of livers and kidneys.

Without being a Marxist, I may try to offer a materialist interpretation of the above. As it happens, some people out there are willing to pay a lot of money to stay amongst the living. At the same time some others are ready to give their body parts just to put bread on their tables. Naturally those two distinct groups of people (the selfish wealthiest and the penniless) have very little in common except biological similarity. They never meet and hardly mix. A broker is needed. A merchant that doesn’t belong to any class whatsoever, a person that is not part of the economic chain of production, a person that is ethically detached, a person that is foreign to humanity as well as humanism. As we learn above the perfect candidates have been found. And they are not alone, their Jewish state is there to facilitate it all. It is there to provide the necessary means in terms of technology and knowledge. The Jewish broker can deal with the rich, he can easily handle the poor, he can do it all as long as there is some money to be made: once a merchant always a merchant whether it is Venice, Tel Aviv, Bucharest, New Jersey or Brooklyn.

But it goes further. As we learn from Larry David’s kidney episode, once rediscovering he is a Jew, his willingness to donate his organ fades into total refusal. David’s behavior is supported by some devastating statistics. Apparently, Israel is the world’s leading procurer of vital organs from other countries, at least for its size. “Just 3.5% of Israelis are registered organ donors. Israel’s donor rate is one-fifth that of Europe so they acquire vital organs from other cultures. The Israeli government helps by paying up to $80,000 each to those visiting other countries to purchase an organ. Brokers openly advertise their services on Israeli radio stations and in newspapers.” (4)

Kvod Hamet

Judaism may throw some light over the abnormal situation. In principle, the Judaic law poses strong objections to any interference with the body after death. Out of respect to the dead (kvod hamet), Judaism requires an immediate burial of the complete body. However, this humanist and respectful approach applies to Jewish dead only. Things get slightly more complicated because Judaism also encourages organ donation in order to save a ‘Jewish life’ (pikuach nefesh).

The solution of what seems as an opposing dualism is far from being too complicated. While Judaism leads its followers towards reluctance to donate their organs it approves or even encourages the usage of other people’s organs. Bearing in mind Israel is a prosperous state in terms of medical science, it is just natural that the Jewish state would harbor all those shady practices to do with organ trafficking and theft. More interestingly, in spite of much of Israel regarding itself as a secular society, when it comes to organ donation it seems as if the Jews prefer to follow God collectively. Larry David’s reluctance to donate his kidney once realizing that he is a Jew by origin is there to emphasize that unique Jewish ‘choose and pick’ attitude towards their religious code. Secular Jews are becoming orthodox when it is convenient.

Israeli Folklore

Back in the 1980’s Israel’s all time leading cabaret act, namely ‘Ha- Gashash Ha-chiver’ elaborated on the subject of organ donation by means of a satire. In their comedy act, an Ashkenazi transplant master insisted to plant a goose’s liver in an (Jewish) Iraqi boy’s body just to gain some publicity. The Sepharadi father was rather devastated, he was concerned that the donated liver would come from an Ashkenazi person or even a goy. Needless to say he wasn’t too happy with the goose either. As time goes by, it seems as if the Jews as a collective have passed that stage. As much as some Jews may be very ‘picky’ in regard to what they put in their mouth (kosher diet) or even very concerned with the racial identity of those whom their kids mix with, they seem to be far less concerned with the origin of the organs that are planted in their bodies. They are concerned with one thing, staying amongst the living regardless of any ethical concern.

The current organ theft scandal proves once again that as far as Israel is concerned, loving yourself as much as you hate your neighbor, is the manifestation of contemporary Jewish philosophy. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take us by a complete surprise. This is what you would expect from a people who live on other people’s land and eat other people’s grapes and figs.

(1) Season 5 episodes 2,5 and 10

Synopsis can be found here:

(2) In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

(3) “”There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?”

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1990, Page 21, The Intifada: Autopsies and Executions


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Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.
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What We Palestinians Need

What We Palestinians Need

By Dr. Mustafa Barghouti

Irrespective of what political settlement is ultimately embraced, Palestinians need a unified strategy for confronting and overcoming Israeli racism, apartheid and oppression.

Palestinians have only two choices before them: 1) either to continue to evade the struggle, as some have been trying to do, or 2) to summon the collective national resolve to engage in it.

The latter option does not necessarily entail a call to arms. Clearly Israel has the overwhelming advantage in this respect in both conventional and unconventional (nuclear) weapons. Just as obviously, neighboring Arab countries have neither the will nor ability to go the military route. However, the inability to wage war does not automatically mean surrender and eschewing other means to wage struggle.

As powerful as it is militarily, Israel has two major weak points. Firstly, it cannot impose political solutions by force of arms on a people determined to sustain a campaign of resistance. This has been amply demonstrated in two full-scale wars against Lebanon and, most recently, in the assault against Gaza. Secondly, the longer the Palestinians have remained steadfast, and the greater the role the demographic factor has come to play in the conflict, the more clearly Israel has emerged as an apartheid system hostile to peace. If the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and the colonialist expansionism describe the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Israeli state, the recent bills regarding the declaration of allegiance to a Jewish state and prohibiting the Palestinian commemoration of the nakba more explicitly underscore its essential racist character.

Ironically, just as Israel has attained the peak in its drive to fragment the Palestinian people, with geographical divides between those in Israel and those abroad, between Jerusalem and the West Bank and the West Bank and Gaza, and between one governorate and the next in the West Bank by means of ring-roads, walls and barriers, Palestinians have become reunified in their hardship and in the challenges that confront them.

Regardless of whether or not they bear Israeli citizenship, or whether they are residents of Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza, they all share the plight of being victims of Israel’s systematic discrimination and apartheid order.

If the only alternative to evading the struggle is to engage in it in order to resolve it, we must affirm that our national liberation movement is still alive. We must affirm, secondly, that political and diplomatic action is a fundamental part of managing the conflict, as opposed to an alternative to it. In fact, we must elevate it to our primary means for exposing the true nature of Israel, isolating it politically and pressing for international sanctions against it.

In this context, we must caution against the theory of building state institutions under the occupation. An administration whose security services would be consuming 35 per cent of the public budget, that would be acting as the occupation’s policeman while furthering Netanyahu’s scheme for economic normalization as a substitute for a political solution, is clearly geared to promote the acclimatization to the status quo, not change. Building Palestinian governing institutions and promoting genuine economic development must occur within the framework of a philosophy of “resistance development”. Such a philosophy is founded on the dual principles of: 1) supporting the people’s power to withstand the hardships of the occupation, and 2) reducing dependency on foreign funding and foreign aid. The strategic aim of the Palestinian struggle, under this philosophy, must be to “make the costs of the Israeli occupation and its apartheid system so great as to be unsustainable”.

If we agree on this course for conducting the struggle, then the next step is to adopt a unified national strategy founded upon four pillars:


In all its forms, resistance is an internationally sanctioned right of the Palestinian people. Under this strategy, however, it must resume a peaceful, mass grassroots character that will serve to revive the culture of collective activism among all sectors of the Palestinian people and, hence, to keep the struggle from becoming the preserve or monopoly of small cliques and to promote its growing impetus and momentum. Models for this type of resistance already exist. Of particular note is the brave and persistent campaign against the Separation Wall, which has spread across several towns and villages, offered five lives to the cause, and become increasingly adamant. The resistance by the people of East Jerusalem and Silwan against Israeli home demolitions and the drive to Judaise the city presents another heroic model. Yet a third promising example is to be found it the movement to boycott Israeli goods and to encourage the consumption of locally produced products. In addition to preventing the occupation power from milking the profits from marketing locally produced products, this form of resistance can engage the broadest swath of the population, from old to young and men and women, and revive the culture and spirit of communal collaboration. The campaigns to break the blockade against Gaza, as exemplified by the protest ships, the supply caravans and the pressures on Israel to lift its economic stranglehold, are another major type of resistance.

Supporting National Steadfastness

The importance of this pillar is its focus on strengthening the demographic power of the Palestinian people so as to transform their millions into an effective grassroots force. It entails meeting their essential needs to enable them to remain steadfast in their struggle, and developing Palestinian human resources as the foundation for a strong and independent Palestinian economy. However, in order to achieve these aims the Palestinian Authority (PA) economic plan and budget must be altered in a way that pits their weight behind development in education, health, agriculture and culture, as opposed to squandering a third of the budget on security. For example, the passage and immediate implementation of the bill for the national higher education fund would serve the educational needs of hundreds of thousands of young adults. In addition to elevating and developing the standards of university education, it would also work to sustain the impact of development aid and eventually reduce reliance on foreign support. The fund would also alleviate the school tuition burdens on more than 150,000 families, put an end to nepotism in the handling of student study grants and loans, and provide equal opportunity for academic advancement to all young men and women regardless of their financial circumstances. Equally innovative and dynamic ideas could be applied to other areas of education, or to stimulating the fields of public health, agriculture and culture with the overall aim of developing the educated, innovative and effective modern human resources needed to meet Palestinian needs as autonomously as possible and, hence, capable of weathering enormous pressures.

National Unity and a Unified National Leadership

This strategic aim entails estructuring the Palestine Liberation Organization on a more demographically representative basis and putting into effect agreements that have been previously reached in the Palestinian national dialogues held in Cairo. Over the past few years, the thrust of Israel’s greatest advantage and the thrust of its assault centered around the Palestinian rift and the weakness of the disunited Palestinian leadership. In order to redress this flaw, the Palestinians must adopt a new mentality and approach. Specifically, they must: relinquish the mentality and practice of vying for power over an illusory governing authority that is still under the thumb of the occupation, whether in the West Bank or in Gaza; give up the illusion that Palestinian military might, however great it might become, is capable of leading the Palestinian struggle alone; adopt democracy and pluralistic democratic activities and processes as a mode of life, self-government, peaceful decision-making, and the only acceptable means to resolve our differences and disputes; resist all outside pressures and attempts (particularly on the part of Israel) to intervene in our internal affairs and to tamper with the Palestinian popular will. There must be a firm and unshakeable conviction in Palestinians’ right to independent national self-determination.

The most difficult task that we face today is creating a unified leadership and strategy binding on all, from which no political or military decisions will depart, and within which framework no single group or party has a monopoly on the decision-making processes. Only with a unified leadership and strategy will we be able to fight the blockade as one, instead of evading unity for fear of the blockade. With a unified leadership and strategy we will able to seize the reins of initiative from others, as opposed to spinning from one reaction to the other, and we will be able to focus our energies on asserting our unified will instead of squandering them in internal power struggles in which the various parties seek outside assistance to strengthen their hand against their opponents on the inside. Only then will we be able to shift the equations that subordinated the national liberation movement to the narrow concerns of the PA (both in the West Bank and Gaza) and turn the PA into an instrument in the service of the national liberation movement.

Enhancing Pro-Palestinian Solidarity

That such a movement already exists and is steadily growing is heartening. However, it will take enormous efforts to organize it and coordinate its activities properly so as to ensure it has the greatest possible influence upon decision-makers, especially in Europe and the West. Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities will need to be orchestrated towards the realization of the same goals. If the solidarity movement has scored significant successes with the organization of a boycott of Israeli products, the decision by the Federation of British Universities to boycott Israeli academics, and the decision taken by Hampshire College and some US churches to refuse to invest in Israel, much work has yet to be done to expand the scope of such activities and build up the momentum of the solidarity movement. The Palestinian plight, which Nelson Mandela has described as the foremost challenge to the international humanitarian conscience, strongly resembles the state of South Africa at the outset to the 1980s. It took years of a concerted unified drive before the South African liberation movement finally succeeded in bringing around governments to their cause. The tipping point came when major companies realized that the economic costs of dealing with the apartheid regime in Pretoria were unsustainable. In the Palestinian case, the success of an international solidarity movement is contingent upon three major factors: 1) The first is careful organization and detailed planning, a high degree of discipline and tight coordination; 2) Second is a rational, civilized rhetoric that refuses to play into Israel’s tactics of provocation; and, 3) The third is to address and recruit progressive movements and peoples in societies abroad, including anti-Zionist Jews and Jews opposed to Israeli policies.

None of the foregoing is new, by any means. However, these ideas have yet to be put into practice. The logical springboard for this is to operate on the principle that while the Palestinian cause is a Palestinian, Arab and Muslim one, it is above all a humanitarian cause that cries out to all in the world who cherish humanitarian principles and values. The success of the freedom fighters of South Africa, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and the campaigners for the independence of India stemmed primarily from their ability to forge a universal appeal. And this is precisely what we must do. Our mottos for the solidarity movement with the Palestinian people must be “the fight against the new apartheid and systematic racism” and “the fight for justice and the right to freedom.” The International Court of Justice’s ruling on the Separation Wall, the illegality of Jewish settlements and altering the face of Jerusalem is a valuable legal precedent that official Palestinian governing institutions have ignored for four years. This ruling should now become our platform for a drive to impose sanctions against Israel, just as the UN resolution against the occupation of Namibia proved a platform for mounting a campaign against the apartheid system in South Africa.

The four-pronged strategy outlined above, which is espoused by the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, can succeed if it is guided by a clear vision, patience, and systematic persistence. I do not expect that it win the approval of all. The interests of some combined with their sense of frustration and despair have deadened their desire to engage in or to continue the confrontation with Israel. We also have to acknowledge that certain sectors of Palestinian society have become so dependent upon interim arrangements and projects and the attendant finances as to put paid to the possibility of their contributing to the fight for real change. Yet, the proposed comprehensive strategy does respond to and represent the interests of the vast majority of the Palestinian people and holds the promise of a better future.

The Palestinian national struggle has so far passed through two major phases: the first steered by Palestinians abroad while ignoring the role of Palestinians at home, and the second steered by Palestinians at home while ignoring the role of Palestinians abroad. Today we find ourselves at the threshold of a third phase, which should combine the struggle at home and the campaign of Palestinians and their sympathizers abroad.

In closing I would like to address the subject of a one-state or a two-state solution. It is both theoretically and practically valid to raise this subject here for two reasons. First, Israel has consistently tried to undermine the prospect of Palestinian statehood by pressing for such formulas as home rule, or an interim state, or a state without real sovereignty. Second, the changes produced on the ground by Israeli settlements and ring roads have come to render the realization of a viable state unrealizable. To some, especially Palestinians in the Diaspora, replacing the call for a one-state solution with calling for a “two-state solution” seems to offer a remedy that gives relief. It is a better remedy, without a doubt, but it is a long way from offering relief. Slogans do not end liberation struggles. Slogans without strategies and efforts to back them up remain nothing but idle wishes or, to some, a noble way to avoid responsibility and the work that goes with it.

Now, let us be clear here. Israel has been working around the clock to destroy the option of an independent Palestinian state on the ground and, hence, the two-state solution. But that does not leave the Palestinian people without an alternative, as some Zionist leaders undoubtedly hope. The single democratic state (not the single bi-national state) in which all citizens are equal in rights and duties regardless of their religious affiliations and their origins is an alternative to the attempt to force the Palestinians to accept slavery under occupation and an apartheid order in the form of a feeble autonomous government that is dubbed a state.

However, whether the aim is a truly independent sovereign state or a single democratic state, both of which Israel dismisses with equal vehemence, neither of these aims can be achieved without exposing and destroying the apartheid system. This requires a strategy. Therefore, instead of allowing ourselves to become divided prematurely over whether to go for the one-state or two-state solution, let us unify behind the common aim required to achieve either: the formulation and implementation of a strategy to fight the occupation, apartheid and racial discrimination. This will lead us to something that is absolutely necessary at this stage, which is to move from the world of slogans to the world of practical activism in accordance with viable strategic plans that mobilize demonstrators against the wall, intellectuals and politicians and other sectors of society. It is high time we realize that diplomatic endeavors and negotiations do not free us from the nuts and bolts of actual struggle. We have one road that leads to a single goal: the freedom of the Palestinian people. There is nothing nobler than to follow this road to its end. This is not a project for some point in the future; it is one that cannot wait. Indeed, we should probably adopt the slogan of the freedom fighters of South Africa: “Freedom in our lifetime!”

– Mustafa Barghouthi, a doctor and a member of the Palestinian parliament, was a candidate for president in 2005. He is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party. This article was contributed to (Originally published in the Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.comMay 18, 2009.)

[Video Free Gaza] We made it to Gaza on 23rd August 2008, 29 August 2009


Written by Free Gaza Team 30 August 2009

We will return. We will come back. We will never forget.

A year ago, 23rd August 2008, 44 of us saw the coastline of Gaza in the distance, after 30 hours of traveling across the Mediterranean Sea. We were jubilant. We had made it to Gaza. We had actually made it to Gaza. We had really, really made it to Gaza.


Thank you to all of you who made this possible, who worked on the land crew, who sent out the information to your lists, who covered the story while we were in Gaza. 44 of us made it to Gaza last year, but we were supported by hundreds of you

Jamil Sayyed to Saad Hariri: You Are Your Dad’s Killer till You Punish Forgers

Jamil Sayyed to Saad Hariri: You Are Your Dad’s Killer till You Punish Forgers
Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 258

30/08/2009 After he was politically arrested by the Lebanese government for four years, Former General Security chief General Jamil al-Sayyed decided to reveal some of what he has against the March 14 and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri along with what he called “corrupt judges” like Said Mirza and Saqr Saqr.

On the 4th anniversary of the political arrest of the four Lebanese generals, and in one of his strongest-worded attacks against the premier-designate and his political and security team, General al-Sayyed lashed out on Sunday at them accusing them of forgery and agreeing to four years of falsification in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

In a press conference, Jamil al-Sayyed said, “Saad Hariri lost right in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon when he agreed to falsification and the country’s destruction during a period of four years.”

He said former premier Rafiq Hariri was murdered three times. “The first was on February 14 (2005). The assassins remain at large thanks to some officers and politicians surrounding (Saad) Hariri.”

“The second time Rafiq Hariri was killed was when the four generals were arrested after false witnesses were told what to say by politicians, officers and journalists. The third time that Hariri was killed was when the four generals were released,” he added.

Sayyed was among four top generals who were released in April after four years in custody in connection with Hariri’s assassination, no one has ever been formally charged. The other three are the former head of the presidential guard, Mustafa Hamdan, 53, domestic security chief Ali Hajj, 52, and military intelligence chief Raymond Azar, 56.

General al-Sayyed said the “criminal state keeps among its ranks people like (public prosecutor) Said Mirza.” He called on Hariri to hold accountable those who committed forgery such as “Wissam al-Hassan, Said Mirza and Samir Shahadeh.”

Addressing Hariri, Sayyed said: “You are your father’s killer until you hold them accountable. If you are brave enough you will place a picture of Mohammed Zuhair al-Siddiq next to your father’s when welcoming your guests,” he said in reference to the main suspect in the investigation into Hariri’s assassination.

Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq, a Syrian army deserter often described by the Arab media as the ‘King Witness’ in the Hariri murder case and arrested in the United Arab Emirates.

Following the Siddiq case, several arrest warrants were issued in Lebanon and Syria against the man for providing false testimonies in the assassination case of Hariri. Siddiq had become a burden on the political sides that at one stage were providing cover for him. Even sources in the Lebanese majority expected Siddiq to be jailed after it turned out that he was a “big lie.”

Addressing President Michel Suleiman, al-Sayyed said: “It is a shame that you have been made prisoner. And yes to the amendment of Taef.” He added, “I ask President Michel Sleiman to adopt the same strict manner that he used to follow as an army commander or leave his current position.”

He also asked MP Walid Jumblatt “where was your political voice in the international tribunal’s file.” He said those who take Jumblatt as an ally were committing a mistake.

General al-Sayyed then criticized Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and asked for an apology to his daughter Sara al-Sayyed for the accusations against her father.


The spokeswoman of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) chief prosecutor Daniel Bellmare dismissed Sunday reports that an “indictment” in the 2005 assassination of Hariri was expected soon.
“Those who are initiating such reports are mere predictors,” Radhia Ashouri told BBC in an interview.

She called on Lebanese politicians “not to jump into conclusions, predict dates for an indictment or predict the content of such indictment.”

Ashouri insisted that investigations into Hariri’s murder were “top secret and the tribunal does not give out information to anyone.”

She said that Bellemare was expected back in The Hague in the coming few days. “There is no set deadline for an indictment. But this does not at all mean that the prosecutor does not see a need to inform the Lebanese public on whether there is one or not.”

She denied claims the investigation was “politicized” saying “We are not a political side and we have never and will never be influenced by politics.”

Israelis passing through-cartoon


Posted by realistic bird under Caricature, Politics Tags: , , ,

from Intiqad newspaper-Lebanon

from Intiqad newspaper-Lebanon

Massive march in support of Jerusalem and Aqsa leaves Damascus for Quneitra

Massive march in support of Jerusalem and Aqsa leaves Damascus for Quneitra

[ 30/08/2009 – 11:13 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)– Thousands of people participated on Friday in the march of “To the Aqsa Mosque” which headed from the Syrian capital Damascus to the Syrian city of Quneitra under the auspices of the Syrian popular campaign for the celebration of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009.

The march started from the Palestinian refugee camp of Al-Yarmouk in Damascus and headed toward Quneitra, the closest point to occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

This step came in response to the invitation made by Al-Quds international institution and the association of Palestinian scholars abroad, which called for considering Friday a day for the support of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

Upon their arrival in the city, the participants performed Friday prayers in the presence of the governor of Quneitra and a number of party and popular leaders in the city.

For their part, Dr. Imad Al-Din Rashid, a representative of Al-Aqsa institution, and Hussein Awawdeh, a senior Hamas official, had the chance to deliver speeches in which they called on the Arab countries to practically move to save the holy city and Mosque from the Zionist threats.

Happy Days for the Jews


Published August 29, 2009

By Ruth Bernstein

Note from Mark Glenn: Ruth Bernstein has been posting comments on my website for the last year. I have had to censor some of her more inflammatory posts, but on the whole I have allowed her to speak her mind freely on my site. Whether Ruth is a Jewish supremacist or a satirical spoof writer is anyone’s guess. I will let the reader decide.


“We Jews have good reason to rejoice,” my rabbi told me jokingly the other day. “The goyim are now completely under our thumbs!”

By 2025 America will no longer have a majority of whites. You, the nominally Christian white masses, will be surrounded by a sea of strange faces. All these polyglot multitudes, whom we have managed to introduce into America by co-opting its immigration policies, we shall now pit against you: to be your enemies, to hound you and persecute you and spit at you as they compete with you for jobs and resources.

They will be encouraged to steal your lovely white women, too, thanks to the pornography we shall feed them in daily doses.

What will you do then to keep your honor? How will you survive in your tented cities and slums? You will implode, rending each other, and the black and brown and yellow races will be your scourge, turning against you too and tearing you to pieces.

You will get your junk food from soup kitchens set up by rich Jewish philantropists, proud pampered creatures safely tucked away in palatial mansions, in secure gated communities beyond the reach of your wrath.

Poor goyim! what will you do then? You will be little better than wild beasts in a menagerie. Skulking behind the bars of your cage, you will see the rich Jews standing on the outside in their Dolce & Gabbana sunshades and designer clothes, mocking you and prodding you with their pointed sticks.

Vengeance for 2000 years of persecution? Absolutely! It will give us a sadomasochistic thrill to torment you in revenge for Auschwitz, to create hell for you on earth. The sobs of your children and the demented wailings of your wives and mothers will be like music to our ears.

Sad days for the goyim. The days of reckoning. Goyim, goyim, goyim, going, gone!

* * *
Who began the Great Despair? It was one of you who unleashed misery on mankind when you brought Charles Darwin into the world. Not for nothing did Susan Sontag say, “The white race is the cancer of humanity.” Darwin was our despair as well as yours. It was Darwin who drove Nietzsche crazy and made him cry out, “God is dead!”

Here is what Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s best friend, had to say after The Origin of Species hit the world like a screaming comet on 24 November 1859: “I know of no study which is so utterly saddening as that of the evolution of humanity. Man emerges with the marks of his lowly origin strong upon him. He is a brute, only more intelligent than other brutes, a blind prey to impulses, a victim to endless illusions which make his mental existence a burden and fill his life with barren toil and battle.”

In other words: blow your brains out! Lift isn’t worth living.

And so we decided to get our revenge on you for Auschwitz and hasten your demise by a number of policies which we knew would bring you to your knees.

Mass immigration, legal as well as illegal, is now swamping America and turning it into a multicultural zoo. This is serving the interests of organized Jewry. You and your white Anglo-Saxon culture is being systematically undermined and destroyed.

Traditional values, in particular Christian culture and mores, have been swept away and subverted — thanks to eighty years of cultural revolution set in motion by a cabal of Jews who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and settled in the United States.

This group, as many of you will know, is commonly known as the Frankfurt School.

Taking their inspiration from Nietzsche, Darwin, Marx and Freud, these Jewish revolutionaries preached a doctrine of despair and nihilism and attempted to persuade the goyim that solace and salvation lay henceforth in a hedonistic creed of perverted sexuality.

It was Freud who said: “Sexual morality is contemptible. I advocate an incomparably freer sexual life.” And it was Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich, two good Jews marching in unison behind Father Sigmund, who proclaimed the doctrine of salvation through sex with their talk of “Eros and civilization” and “orgiastic potency”.

Fulfilment, the world was told, could henceforth be found in homosexuality, compulsive round-the-clock masturbation, incest, bestiality, and any other sexual aberration that the easily duped goyim could be persuaded to adopt.

As he stood on the deck of the ship bringing him to America, the country he planned to corrupt, Freud turned to a Jewish colleague and joked: “If only the Americans knew we were bringing them the plague!”

These are the dark forces to which you, the goyim, are now being subjected by organized Jewry. Can you resist these forces? No, it seems you cannot— any more than Pavlov’s dog could resist the juicy morsel of meat dangled in front of his nose.

* * *

There are 7 billion people in the world. There are only 15 million Jews. We make up a minute fraction of only 1 per cent of the total. And yet, we are the crème de la crème. We have replaced the WASP elite. And the reason for our transcendence is clear to me: it is because we have no scruples. Untrammeled by Christian morality, we lie and cheat and rise to the top of the heap everywhere.

The word “goyim”, meaning cattle, was not intended as an insult when our rabbis first applied it to you gentiles in the Talmud. The word was simply meant as a factual description. As man is to monkey, Jew is to goy: a superior species.
I have no wish to discuss Darwin with you, but let me tell you that this is all about natural selection and the survival of the fittest. If our rule is near-universal now, if our strength increases by the day, it is because we have all the characteristics of born leaders — particularly intelligence.

You goyim are destined to slavery because you have all the attributes of a slave race. Look around you and take note of what you nominally Christian Americans and Europeans have become: semi-literate, uncultured, philistine, easily led and credulous, irrational, subject to propaganda and the pleasure principle, television-addicted, enervated by alcohol, stultified by drugs, brutalized by pornography.

We, your Masters, have turned you into well-trained automata. No wonder so many of your men now actually prefer pornographic images of women to real women!

You have lost your gods, wretched goyim, because we have done our best to destroy them.

* * *

And what of the triumphant Jew? Does he have reason to gloat as he tramples on the necks of the goyim? I don’t think so.

The Noble Jew of the Torah, where is he? He is dead, and gone the way of all flesh, and is now himself little better than a brute beast. He has won the war of the races, but he did not deserve to win.

In Israel this Übermensch bears a strong resemblance to the jackbooted German who raped and killed his female forebears; and “the noblest army in the world” is now among the most demonic and unspeakable plagues ever to afflict mankind.

The survivors of the Holocaust, no longer content with flouting international law and stealing land — lebensraum for the new Übermenschen — are now ripping the organs out of Palestinians and exporting them to America where respected rabbis are hawking them for huge profits.

You want a kidney, Mr Goldstein? Rabbi Katz, having obtained one from the West Bank for $10,000, will be delighted to sell you one for $160,000. No problem. Just make inquiries at your local synagogue.

Lest you think I am being flippant or ironical, let me tell you that organ theft has now received full rabbinical blessing in Israel. Here is Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg giving Jews his permission to plunder the organs of non-Jews with a clear conscience: “A Jew is entitled,” he tells us, “to extract the liver from a goy if he needs it, for the life of a Jew is more valuable than the life of a goy.” Nicely put. Easy to understand. No ethical problems here, as far as I can see.
Rabbis! What makes a man become a rabbi? Is it the thirst for God? Listen to Jewish actor Richard Pachecho who couldn’t quite make up his mind whether to become a rabbi or a porn star!

“Five years before I got my first part in an adult film,” Pacheco confides, “I went to an audition for an X-rated film with my hair down to my ass, a copy of Wilhelm Reich’s Sexual Revolution under my arm and yelling about work, love and sex, which were Reich’s three principles. These things have got to be in balance or your life is going to be fucked.”

Pacheco didn’t get the job, but he kept on auditioning, since all he really wanted was to screw lovely Roman Catholic porn actresses, thereby getting his revenge for Auschwitz. If you can’t kill them in concentration camps, like they killed your people, at least you can screw them in a Hollywood studio.

“Five years later,” Pacheco revealed nonchalently, “I auditioned for another X-rated film. That very day, I also interviewed at Hebrew Union Seminary to do rabbinical study. I made the choice that the kind of rabbi I would be, if I became one, was one that could have been performing in sex films as part of his experience.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? This Untermensch masquerading as an Übermensch can’t seem to make up his mind whether to sing hymns to God or kiss the Devil’s ass!

So this is where we are: in the eye of the storm.

The Noble Jew, with “the most moral army in the world”, stands surveying the killing fields of the world he has conquered. Iraq and Afghanistan lie in ruins, thanks to his machinations. Iran sits in the cross-hairs, awaiting its inevitable doom. And meanwhile in America, as the sewage of Hollywood spreads its slime over the golden cornfields and shining towers of a once Christian country, there is nothing much to live for except sex and death.

The question needs to be asked: was it all worth it? Who are we Jews going to screw when there’s no one left worth screwing? Are we going to start screwing ourselves?


Guess What?
But she started the whole thing??
He is Anti Hamas, the last Palestinian Fort, and “HE BLOG FOR PALESTINE”
He is Anti Iran, the first Islamic FORT though Baathists used to call him “Mulla Tony”, and “HE BLOG FOR PALESTINE”
He is Anti Syria, the Last Arabic Fort and “HE BLOG FOR PALESTINE”

The Fig Leaf he used to cover his true color and his real agenda was Hezbollah.

Finally, he dropped that leaf and attacked his HERO, Hassan Nasrallah,

He used to praise HEZBOLLAH to attack Hamas “Immune to learn”.

“Obviously They Don’t Have the Needed Arms; Then They Should Hide!
This is Not Cowardice, It Is Commonsense!
The Credibility of Hamas as a Fighting Force is not Good, So Far.”
“You ask, what can Hamas do? At a minimum hide, in the face of a superior force.”

Out of sudden he wanted Hamas, who should hide, to keep the pressure on the Knocked wall,
and recently to abandon Islam and “Reactionary Muslim Brothers” align it self with Egyptian Progressive Forces, and make it top priority changing the Egyptian regime.

He attaked Syria and claimed that Syria would sell out Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

He wondered why Palestinians would not learm from the successful model of the Iraqi
resistance? And out of sudden he wrote: Iraqi Resistance what Iraqi Resistance?

He used the Palestinian Sufferings to to Attack Muslims for going to Mecca, for stoning Ibless (Satan – his master), and took every chance to use the sheded Palestinian Blood to Publish his favorite Cartons, the Danish Cartons.

Some of his readers defended him thinking that cares for his people, I commented that he could have referred to the Cartons without publishing it. So he removed it from his “Blog for Palestine”
Outraged with Habila Saying: “Islamic “Awakening” in Gaza is Our Response to the Siege.”
He concluded: “So, is He in Favor of Tightening the Siege? One Wonders About This Habila!”
HE FOUND IT, THE ONLY WAY GAZANS TO BREAK THE SIEGE IS STOPPING BEING MOSLEMS. The best way to Mobilize Muslims to braek the Siege is to publish the the 12 Danish Cartons, and that what he DID.

Related links

    Iraq deputy FM denies boycott with Syria


    Alsumaria, here

    Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abbawi denied any boycott between Iraq and Syria noting that summoning Iraqi Ambassador to Syria is a normal procedure.
    Abbawi affirmed that Iraq’s ministerial council has called on Syria to hand the two suspects implicated in Baghdad bombings and charged the Interior and Justice Ministries to prepare their files mainly that Younes Al Ahmed is wanted for previous cases and lawsuits.

    Posted by G, Z, & or B at 10:02 AM



    ugust 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm (Gaza, Mohammed Omer, Palestine)

    It’s Tents for Most Homeless Families in Gaza, Prefabricated Huts for the Lucky Few

    By Mohammed Omer

    homeless in gaza

    Hussein Shawish plays with his grandchildren inside their new mobile house in Gaza City, June 17, 2009 (AFP photo/Mohammed Abed).

    DESPITE THE parade of various international diplomats and aid workers surveying the destruction in Gaza, virtually nothing has changed since Israel ended in January its Operation Cast Lead assault—peversely named after a line in a children’s Hannukah poem. Israel launched its assault on Dec. 27, 2008, during the Jewish religious festival.

    Homeless families are distressed at the lack of progress in providing adequate and safe shelter, despite pledges made by international donors at a conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in early March.

    “I am glad to be one of the first people in Gaza to receive a prefabricated hut,” said Issa Hamouda, who lives in Gaza’s densely crowded Jabalya refugee camp.

    The 57-year-old Hamouda gestures toward some of his 20 children and grandchildren standing next to the rubble of what used to be their family home, where they would wake up every morning. “It’s only the size of one room,” he said of their new dwelling, it’s better than nothing.”

    The prefabricated hut stands next to the rubble of his demolished house. “Each time I pass this tent and prefabricated hut,” Hamouda added, “it’s a symbol to remind us of the last offensive against us.”

    Unfortunately, the tent and adjacent shanty hut his family has been forced to live in since January will not be coming down anytime soon.

    Despite more than $4.5 billion in pledges made at the international donors’ conference to help rebuild the Gaza Strip, nothing seems to be getting through to Gaza so far. According to a senior official in Gaza’s de facto government, who noted that no funds have yet been received from donor nations, “There have been no serious attempts, by all sides, to plan the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.”

    In the weeks following the Israeli assault, aid groups set up tent camps in the hardest hit areas, but the prefabricated shelters did not arrive until June, when the Hamas-led government in Gaza began distributing 192 structures supplied by Turkey. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) plans to supply an additional 1,200 prefabricated units in the coming weeks or months, according to Palestinian sources in Gaza.

    The 40-foot-square pre-fabricated huts in which fewer than 200 families currently are living have no toilet, washroom, kitchen or private facilities. Indeed, they are little more than a simple tool shed. Yet, in Gaza, five months after Israel halted its attack, it passes for a home.

    There are some Gazans who are not reduced to living in tents or huts: they are crammed into the homes of relatives and friends, or renting an apartment if an available one can be found. The latter, however, is a luxury most Gazans cannot afford.

    Asked about the international pledges to rebuild Gaza, Hamouda replied, “These donor countries should first work to end the occupation, instead of offering to pay the cost of the occupation. If you want to give me dinner, don’t just give me a fish, but teach me how and let me fish. We don’t want to be dependent on other countries’ donations.”

    Gaza has an abundance of human resources, including many workers and professionals, he added. “We could live much better just off our available resources,” Hamouda said, “with open borders and no more occupation controlling our lives.”

    Israel’s 22-day attack on Gaza killed more than 1,400 Palestinians. Thousands more—the majority civilians—were injured. According to the latest U.N. survey, 3,500 houses were completely destroyed, 2,100 sustained major damage and 40,000 sustained minor damage.

    Hamouda’s large family is the main reason he was one of the first people in Gaza to receive a shelter, which was assembled by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Most Gazans prefer to have the shelters situated near what used to be their homes.

    Hamouda described how Israel targeted his house during Operation Cast Lead. First it was bombed by Israeli warplanes, and later demolished by Israeli bulldozers. “Who knows when my children will have a home again?” he asked. “All is demolished, nothing was left behind, including our trees and farm. Even the donkey was killed under the ruins of the house.

    “We have no privacy and no protection from the heat of the day or the cold of the night,” he added. “We just want to live a normal life like people in other nations around the world.”

    In Hamouda’s opinion, the visits to Gaza by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter were “a catastrophe. Neither Carter nor Blair came down to see our tragedy. Yet they allowed the occupation of our homeland when they were in office. I don’t expect anything good from either of them.”

    Carter may not have visited the Hamouda family, but he denounced the deprivations facing Palestinians in Gaza as unique in history and asserted that they are being treated “more like animals than human beings” (see p. 17).

    Meanwhile, Israel’s crippling siege of Gaza remains in place. Maxwell Gaylard, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, explained why—months later and despite donor pledges—shelters for Gaza’s homeless families are not being built: “It’s a simple reason,” the Jerusalem-based Gaylard said. “The government of Israel doesn’t allow construction materials into Gaza.

    “I have replanted our trees three times,” said Hamouda, “but each time Israeli bulldozers destroy them. It makes me think that Israel doesn’t only consider human beings in Gaza as enemies, but also the trees.”

    Several human rights groups and European governments have called on Israel to allow construction materials into Gaza, but so far there has been no lessening of the siege. “We have been in negotiation with the Israeli authorities, but there is no approval to allow construction materials into Gaza,” Gaylard said. “Gaza is a place which has enjoyed a good standard of living before, but not now,” he said. “Many are poor—they live on one meal per day—it is pretty miserable.”

    Asked how long he thought the reconstruction of Gaza would take, the U.N. official could only respond, “I wish I knew. We have been constantly calling for the opening of the borders and stating that the Gazan people should not have to be subjected to this collective punishment.”

    “We have built our houses with our sweat and blood,” said Issa Hamouda. Pausing, he added: “And we are ready to rebuild it again and again—but Israel should respectfully leave us alone, and we will manage with the resources we have available.”



    August 29, 2009 at 7:26 am (Crime, Israel, Palestine)

    human_heartIsraeli Organ Harvesting


    Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

    Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

    In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/

    An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

    Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

    The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

    Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

    Israel’s first heart transplant

    Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

    In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

    After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

    When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

    During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

    The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

    The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent. (3) (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

    Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

    Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

    A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

    Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

    He responded:

    “There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?” (4)

    Mysterious Scottish death

    In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

    His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair’s corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

    The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

    The J report states:

    “A heart said to be Sinclair’s was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

    Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist’s and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either. (5,6,7)

    Israeli government officials raise questions

    Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

    “In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

    “The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

    “‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

    Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.” (8)

    Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

    For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

    “… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)

    In 2002 the service reported:

    “The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss.”

    Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

    “In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.” (10)

    Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

    According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.” (11)

    In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

    According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

    IPS reports:

    The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country’s government.”

    The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, “in a legal manner, complying with international norms,” and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

    However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” that allowed the network to function. (12)

    Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

    IPS goes on to report:

    “Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

    “Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

    Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

    In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

    The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000. (13)

    Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested. (14)

    In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel’s leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

    Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

    In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

    According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: “His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000.” (15)

    This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

    University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs. (16)

    Israel’s organ donor problems

    Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards. (17)

    “According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

    According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.” (18, 19)

    The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

    “Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

    To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

    Palestinian disappearances increase

    Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah, (20) reports in his recent article:

    “While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

    “Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

    “I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

    He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

    “The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

    Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

    “The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

    Why autopsies?

    Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

    “Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

    Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

    He goes on to write:

    “We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

    It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.” (21)

    The new “Blood Libel”?

    In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

    The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.” (22, 23)

    In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled “Pasque di Sangue” (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

    Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

    In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

    My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

    (Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.” ) (26)

    Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

    “I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth.”

    Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

    Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

    If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

    Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

    It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.

    Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. A version of this article containing citations and additional information is available at http://ifamericansknew/cur_sit/sweden.html


    1/ There are two English translations; this article uses the first:

    The original Swedish article in Aftonbladet can be viewed at

    2/ New York Times, Feb. 3, 1969, p. 8, Column 6 (53 words)

    3/ 40 years after Israel’s first transplant, donor’s family says his heart was stolen
    By Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz Correspondent, Dec. 14, 2008

    4/ Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1990, Page 21, The Intifada: Autopsies and Executions

    5/ October 30, 1998,Bizarre death of Scottish tourist involves suicide, missing heart
    by NETTY C. GROSS, Jerusalem Post Service

    6/ The Forward, Illicit Body-Part Sales Present Widespread Problem, By Rebecca Dube, Aug. 26, 2009

    7/ Masons, Muslims, Templars, Jews, Henry and Dolly.

    8/ Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Khalid Amayreh, August 20, 2009




    12/ The Economist, Organ transplants: The gap between supply and demand, Oct. 9, 2008

    BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring
    By Mario Osava, IPS, Feb. 23, 2004

    Haaretz, Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking, By Fadi Eyadat, Dec. 18, 2007

    14/ uncover illegal organ trade ring

    By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, July 23, 2007

    Sting rocks U.S. transplant industry, David Porter, Carla K. Johnson, ASSOCIATED PRESS, july 25, 2009


    U.S. Professor: I told FBI about kidney trafficking 7 years ago
    By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, August, 3, 2009


    A mitzvah called organ donation, Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg, 10.6.07

    Orthodox in uproar over organ donation incident, Neta Sela, 06.22.06


    The Return of the Body Snatchers, By Israel Shamir,




    Ha’aretz. The Wayward Son, by Adi Schwartz, March 1, 2007

    Ha’aaretz, Bar-Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book
    By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, Feb 11, 2007


    Israeli writer Israel Shamir reports that some years ago “…a leading Chabad rabbi,
    Yitzhak Ginzburgh, gave his religious permission for a Jew to take a liver from a non-Jew even without his consent. He said that ‘a Jew is entitled to extract the liver from a goy if he needs it, for the life of a Jew is more valuable than the life of a goy, likewise the life of a goy is more valuable than the life of an animal.’

    Haaretz, Bar Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book, by Ofri Hani, Feb. 11, 2007.

    Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2001, page 11, In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001), By Norton Mezvinsky



    Is the PLO playing with the Palestinian national cause?


    Posted by realistic bird under Politics Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    by Umayah Jiha

    by Umayah Jiha

    August 27, 2009, source

    Despite rhetorical denials, the PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA), which Fatah constitutes the backbone of both, are moving steadily toward adopting positions that would effectively compromise inalienable Palestinian rights and might even lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

    The reported PLO propensity to “deal positively” with dubious “peace plans” that would obliterate Palestinian rights should alarm all patriotic Palestinians.

    After all, the Palestinian cause is not the property of unelected politicians who think they have a carte blanch to behave as they see fit with regard to such fundamental issues as the right of return and Jerusalem.

    Unfortunately, the signs and signals that keep coming from the PLO and PA quarters don’t auger well for the future. Hence, the urgent need to speak up and warn these unelected leaders against playing with fire.

    First, there is the so-called Fayyad vision or plan for creating a Palestinian state with temporary borders under the Israeli occupation, a state that would very much look like a Judenrat (Jewish community council under the Nazi occupation of Europe ). How else can one honestly relate to an entity that is completely void of sovereignty, freedom and the most elementary requirements of statehood?

    Fayyad, an economist-turned-politician at Washington’s urging seems to think that building a sound economic base with international support would be sufficient to transform the vision of statehood from dream to reality.

    However, the man who reportedly had described himself as “George Bush’s man in Palestine” wouldn’t tell us how it is possible to build a sound economic base in a country that continues to languish under a Nazi-like military occupation which tightly controls every aspect of Palestinian life.

    Well, doesn’t Mr. Fayyad realize that Palestinians can hardly travel from Ramallah, the seat of his government, to any other Palestinian town in the West Bank without an Israeli permit?

    Doesn’t he realize that Israel has the ultimate and final say over the smallest transaction of money from abroad to occupied Palestine or vice versa?

    Doesn’t he know that the Shin Beth, Israel’s chief domestic security agency, decides which Palestinian can travel abroad?

    Finally, Fayyad ought to explain to the Palestinian people how such a fantastic entity would function in the absence of any territorial contiguity linking the various Bantustans and townships comprising the contemplated state?

    Hence, one wonders how such a state, which would be laminated with big, bombastic names and a lot of trappings but with utterly no substance, serve the national interests of the Palestinian people.

    In all honesty, such a state would be a huge disaster for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people. It would be proven a solution for Israel’s and Zionism’s problems, first and foremost, since it would enable Israel to claim that the Palestinian issue was finally resolved with the creation of a Palestinian state.

    More to the point, Israel would be able to use this farce as an effective propaganda tool to endear itself to the Arab-Muslim world by arguing that Arabs and Muslims can’t be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves who are quite satisfied with their lot.

    Furthermore, Israeli hasbara (propaganda) efforts might receive a helping hand from some Palestinian officials and spokesmen eager to defend the “new state” in the face of those who spread “doubts and rumors” about its national credentials.”

    Fayyad is not only making a balloon test to find out Palestinian and international reactions to his gambit. He must be coordinating his move with PLO leadership which is constantly retreating from the erstwhile national constants that continue to enjoy an overwhelming national consensus.

    True, the PLO, especially the Fatah leadership, continues to make rhetorical statements reasserting their commitment to a full Israel withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 as well as the right of some 4.5 million refugees, dispersed to the four corners of the globe, to return to their homes and villages from which they were brutally uprooted when the Zionist state was created more than 61 years ago.

    However, we all know that the Fatah leadership’s declared commitment to the right of return is only symbolic and mainly propagandistic in nature.

    Indeed, PLO officials, including Mahmoud Abbas, said on numerous occasions that when Palestinians speak about the right of return for the refugees, what they actually mean is a return to the contemplated Palestinian state, not to ” Israel” where the bulk of these refugees and their ancestors had been living for centuries.

    In fact, the PLO retreat doesn’t merely stop at compromising the right of return but also encompasses the subject of al-Quds al Sharif (Noble Jerusalem), which the Israeli occupation regime continues to Judaize at an alarming rate, by obliterating its Arab-Islamic identity using bulldozers and explosives and other means of ethnic cleansing.

    Indeed, statements and remarks by PLO officials, especially Abbas and his immediate coterie of aides, advisors and hangers-on, continue to make diluted statements about Jerusalem , which reveals a principled willingness to accept the annexation to Israel of huge parts of the occupied city in the context of any final-status settlement with the Zionist state.

    “We have to be realistic and pragmatic,” these demoralized officials and “leaders” would say in private conversations.

    Unfortunately, the “new” PLO-Fatah leadership seems to have interpreted the recent Fatah elections, not as a reassertion of traditional positions opposing Israeli territorial expansion and efforts to liquidate the right of return, but rather as a vindication of the Abbas-Fayyad line whereby Palestinians would have to accept what is internationally possible in terms of what the Palestinians are realistically able to extricate from Israel’s parsimonious hands.

    This is at odd with the mendacious and misleading rhetoric by many Fatah leaders who don’t stop claiming that the group’s Sixth Congress, which took place in Bethlehem in early August, was a valuable asset benefiting the Palestinian cause and bolstering the so-called Arafat line.

    Well, the coming days and weeks will show that the Fatah leadership is either day-dreaming or deliberately not telling the truth to the Palestinian people.

    There is no doubt that there are many patriotic people within Fatah, an organization that undeniably shouldered the national cause for many years.

    But it is also true that corrupt and mediocre elements do have the upper hand and, more importantly, control the coffers of Fatah, which enable them to dictate and impose their views on the rest of the movement, perhaps save honest people like Farouk Kaddumi, who are too old and too powerless to reverse the tides against the “pragmatists” who think that the goal of statehood overrides any other cause, including the right of return and the liberation of al-Quds from the claws of Zionism.

    One would always want to consider the half-filled glass and not give in to pessimism. However, one must also guard against false optimism to avoid disastrous ramifications.

    It is said that Fatah’s financial survival depends nearly completely on the PA which is kept afloat thanks to regular handouts from western donors, especially the US and its Arab puppet regimes.

    This financial dependence, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, is nearly always translated into political cooption, as is clear from Fatah’s disgraceful silence vis-à-vis the criminal security coordination between the newly-founded PA security apparatus and the Israeli occupation army.

    Well, there are those who would argue rather candidly that if Fatah could tolerate the close “operational coordination” with Israel, it likewise would be willing to come to terms with the liquidation of the Palestinian cause in one way or the other, for the sake of political survival and especially for the hefty salaries at the end of the month.

    I hope this is not going to be the case.

    Reroducing failure


    The US is insisting on restarting talks between the Palestinians and Israel, but to what end, asks Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

    August 28, 2009

    By Khalid Amayreh

    Having utterly failed to get Israel to freeze Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, the Obama administration is now asking Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume peace talks as soon as possible.

    The US State Department said this week it was getting closer to winning the agreements of both Israel and the PA to resume talks. Spokesperson Ian Kelly told reporters that the “process of laying the groundwork for Israeli Palestinian-peace talks is moving closer to fruition”.

    However, Kelly failed to corroborate his optimism with tangible facts.

    It is not clear why the US is insisting on jump-starting the stalled talks at this time. However, diplomats and observers opine that the Obama administration has effectively lost the showdown with the Netanyahu government over the settlement issue and is now hoping that the highly contentious issue can be “treated more satisfactorily” in bilateral talks between the two conflicting sides.

    This assumption, however, is being viewed coolly by Palestinian leaders and the Arab world at large as a definitive retreat from the original US position that Israel must first freeze settlement construction as part of its obligations under the “roadmap” plan. PA official Saeb Erekat, while welcoming Washington’s strong involvement in the peace efforts, has advised the Obama administration to refrain from making the same mistakes as the Bush administration. He argued that the real problem facing the peace process was not the resumption of negotiations but rather getting Israel to recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and end, once and for all, the decades-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

    Netanyahu has been calling for an “unconditional” resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. Netanyahu believes the appearance of Israel and the PA indulging in peace talks, irrespective of whether such talks would yield any substantive results, would shield Israel from mounting international criticisms over the settlement expansion issue and allow the Jewish state to pursue its colonialist interests, especially in East Jerusalem.

    This week, Israeli authorities approved plans to build hundreds of settler units in the heart of Arab East Jerusalem. The planned new settlement in the densely populated Arab neighbourhood of Ras Al-Amud is meant to kill the possibility of East Jerusalem becoming the future capital of a prospective Palestinian state.

    Earlier, Israel and the US had been working on a “package deal” whereby Israel would accept a moratorium on settlement building for a period ranging from six months to two years. Israel reportedly agreed on a certain moratorium but insisted on completing thousands of settler units currently being built all over the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel insisted that it wouldn’t agree to any settlement freeze in Jerusalem.

    Netanyahu was scheduled to travel to London this week for talks with US Peace Envoy George Mitchell to reach agreement on the duration of the proposed moratorium. Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Last week, the German Foreign Ministry called settlements “one of the biggest impediments to peace in the Middle East”. “We and our partners, the Americans, have made it very clear that we see the settlements issue as one of the biggest impediments to a two-state solution,” German Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke was quoted as saying. “There must be urgent progress on settlements to make progress on Middle East [peace].”

    Peschke acknowledged that while Israel was “thinking seriously about its policy, there is no definitive movement on the settlement question yet”. Israel, for its part, rejected the German criticisms as “irrelevant” to the resumption of the peace process. “These statements are not part of any diplomatic negotiations; they are unrelated to reality and distort it,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

    Earlier, infamous Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been keeping a low profile apparently for fear of damaging Israel’s image and diplomatic interests, was quoted as saying that he didn’t foresee peace at all. “It will be impossible in the next 16 years to bridge the gaps on Jerusalem, the refugees, or on Israel as a Jewish state.”

    Lieberman also said that while he didn’t believe anything would come of current efforts to re- launch the peace process, he was giving Netanyahu room to manoeuvre in talks with the Americans.

    Meanwhile, the Israeli group Peace Now underscored the mendacity of Israeli claims that settlement construction was being frozen. The group pointed out in a new report on settlement growth that in the first half of 2009, Israel was constructing 600 new buildings in West Bank settlements, with 96 new buildings constructed in the so-called “illegal outposts”. According to the report, 35 per cent of the buildings are constructed on the eastern — Palestinian — side of the apartheid wall. The construction of permanent homes has risen by eight per cent since last year, while the placement of trailer homes dropped by 43 per cent.

    The same Israeli group said there were currently 40,000 new buildings authorised for construction, according to available plans, the vast majority in settlement blocs like Gush Etzion and Maale Adumim near Jerusalem.

    Construction was also underway in 10 out of 23 outposts that Defence Minister Ehud Barak committed to ending, with three new trailer homes added to the Avigail outpost, five new trailer homes added to Bnei Adam outpost, six to Havat Gilad, and two new buildings and two trailer homes in Mitzpeh Lachish, among others.

    The Peace Now report underscored the worthlessness of promises and pledges made to the Americans by Israeli officials.

    Barak has held several high-profile meetings with Mitchell and solemnly undertook to freeze settlement buildings east of the annexation wall, as well as to dismantle more than 20 illegal outposts created by settlers, mostly with the tacit agreement of the Israeli occupation army.

    Israeli intransigence on the settlement issue as well as obvious reluctance on the part of the Obama administration to exert meaningful pressure on Israel is creating despair within the Palestinian leadership. Whereas the PA had made commitments not to re-engage in talks without a settlement freeze, there are signs it is retreating from this position — if only to demonstrate to the Americans, for the “umpteenth time”, as one Palestinian official put it, Palestinian willingness to engage in talks and total Israel intransigence.

    At the same time, the PA is backed against a wall, as initiating a new round of open-ended talks with Israel would be deeply unpopular amongst Palestinians. Fatah, the backbone of the PA, risks losing its recently enhanced popularity if another exhausting round of peace talks with Israel proves fruitless, as most Palestinians and Arabs believe it will be, barring decisive US interference that would force Israel to take a strategic decision to give up the spoils of occupation.
    With Fatah pressing to hold Palestinian general elections in January, and with no real progress in the peace process achieved, the movement will have a hard time convincing the Palestinian public to give it or its strategic outlook the benefit of the doubt.


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