Israel: Massacre At Sea

JNOUBIYEH | 12:22 PM 


By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
Countercurrents.org

The cold-blooded massacre of 20 unarmed peace activists by commandos from the Israeli army in the eastern Mediterranean in the early hours of 31st May 2010 has once again revealed to the world what this rogue regime is all about. It is evil incarnate.

The regime has as always tried to camouflage its evil by fabricating outrageous lies such as that the 620 peace activists on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, were terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda and the “Global Jihad”.

The activists have also been accused of carrying an assortment of weapons. A Malaysian peace activist who helped to coordinate the flotilla of 3 cargo ships and 3 passenger ships (of which Marmara was one) swears that those involved— journalists, human rights advocates, professionals, academics and NGO personalities— from a number of countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia, are men and women committed to the non-violent struggle for peace and justice. The sharpest weapon that some of them have in their possession is a pencil. The Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Turkish Parliament has also refuted the allegation about terrorists aboard the Marmara as a “lie”.

Anyone familiar with the behaviour of the Israeli regime should not be surprised that it used so much force to crush activists sailing to Gaza to deliver much needed humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens of that small strip of Palestinian land. Resorting to massive violence to thwart any challenge to what is perceived as Israeli security interests is the modus operandi of Israeli leaders. After murdering 20 peace activists, the Israeli propaganda machine is telling the world that its commandos acted in self-defence.

Those of us who are committed to the Palestinian cause should counter these lies and fabrications through effective dissemination of the truth through various channels especially the alternative media. We should let the whole world know what Israel is and why it is rightly described as a rogue state that has utter contempt for international law and civilized norms of conduct. Why the Palestinian cause is just and what the possible solution is to the Israeli – Palestinian/Arab conflict should also be widely publicized. It is a pity that Palestinian peace activists have not done enough work of this sort.

At the same time, in the wake of the Israeli massacre of peace activists, efforts should be intensified to isolate Israel in the international arena. The UN Security Council, it is hoped, will adopt a strong, unanimous resolution condemning the massacre. One must also explore the possibility of dragging the Israeli regime to the World Court since its attack upon the Mavi Marmara occurred in international waters, 65 kilometres from Israel. All countries that have diplomatic ties with Israel should also review their relations with the rogue state with immediate effect. Since a number of its citizens were killed, Turkey in particular may want to suspend — if not rescind—its diplomatic ties with Israel. Civil society groups should also accelerate their divestment and boycott programs which are already gathering momentum.

It is because Israel has lost so much legitimacy in the last few months, that its massacre of the innocent on the high seas may well be the tipping point.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
President,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
Malaysia.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Tale of Israeli Soldier Being Peace Pigeon Indigestible Anymore

Almanar
Mohamad Shmaysani

31/05/2010 Israeli commentators described what had happened Monday at dawn in the international waters as a “brutal ambush at sea.”

Ynet’s Ron Ben-Yisha recounted Israel’s explanation of the ‘operation; a tale that portrayed navy commandos as peace pigeons and activists including noble prize laureates and intellectuals as rioters.

He said that “when navy commandos slid down the vessel, passengers pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots assaulting soldiers, who were only equipped with paintball rifles used to dispersed minor protests and handguns.”

Despite the censorship imposed on the circumstance of the ‘operation’, one commando managed to speak out to establish that Israeli peace pigeons were on the defensive when they stormed the flotilla in international waters and killed 19 people, because he saw ‘the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell.’

But is this still a digestible story?

The first panel debate at the “Democracy and its Challenges'” conference sponsored by the French Embassy in cooperation with Haaretz got off to a stormy start Monday.

Pro-Israel French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy expressed shock at the “events.”
“…in the war of images, in the war of pictures and propaganda, it seems to me that the Israeli government that you represent is just losing this war,” Levy said. “They are destructive not only for the image of the government of Israel – this is of no importance; when democratic governments fail, they are replaced. The damage that concerns me is to the country to which I’m bound unconditionally. This seems more dangerous than a military failure.”

Haaretz criticized the Israeli government handling of the ‘incident’ saying that “the government failed the test of results.

“Monday’s bloodshed cannot be dismissed with claims that the demonstrators attacked IDF commandos with guns and other weapons. This type of excuse shifts responsibility from the political and military decision-makers to the soldiers, who acted in the heat of combat and for fear of their lives. It may be convenient to Netanyahu and his partners in government to present the battle as a local incident that escalated – but they cannot escape responsibility for the crisis,” Haaretz said.

The Israeli massacre drew worldwide condemnation, perhaps the first at this scale since decades. Hours after Israel committed the heinous crime, the UNSC held an emergency session, the NATO will hold a similar meeting Tuesday and the Arab League will convene, at a low level, on Tuesday as well.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Dubai Police Chief….. Praises Nasrallah and Resistance Axis tactics

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

“… On May 31, Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said in interview with Al-Quds al-Arabi: “In their conflict with Israel, the Arabs should adopt the same method as Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. If they stay in their land and strike Israel with rockets, the latter will lose. I thus advise all the Arab states to manufacture and develop their missiles in order to acquire power and force the other side to respect them and their rights. I believe it is odd that strong states in the region are unable to manufacture rockets while Hamas and the Jihad are doing that locally.

“I do not know Hassan Nasrallah in person and I am in no way connected to him. However, he made everyone respect him, including his enemies. He won the battle on the ground during the July war and was able to defeat Israel and its soldiers in thirty days.”

Posted by G, Z, or B at 2:00 PM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Brave Israeli Commandos Slaughter Aid Activists at Sea

by Stephen Lendman

Even America’s major media can’t duck a crime this grave – attacking and slaughtering up to 20 Gaza Freedom Flotilla activists and injuring dozens more.

New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined “At Least 10 Killed as Israel Intercepts Aid Flotilla, saying:

“The Israeli Navy raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning….The incident drew widespread international condemnation, with Israeli envoys summoned to explain their country’s actions in several European countries….The killings also coincided with preparations for a planned visit to Washington on Tuesday (June 1) by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Late word is it’s postponed.

The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times carried similar reports, trying, but hardly able to downplay a major crime.

The UK-based Stop the War Coalition called it “Yet another act of Israeli barbarism” in announcing an “emergency demonstration” at 2:00PM near the prime minister’s Downing Street residence, saying spread the word and come.

In Gaza, thousands protested, expressing anger, outrage and sympathy, carrying banners condemning willful crimes, and calling for Arab solidarity. Similar demonstrations turned out in Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran, Ankara, Istanbul, Beirut and other regional cities.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed the Flotilla organizers for inciting the attack, while his deputy, Danny Alalon said they were connected to international terrorist organizations and were trying to smuggle in arms. Weapons were found on board, he claimed.

At a hastily called news conference, sparsely attended, he referred to “the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization,” accusing peaceful activists of a “premeditated and outrageous provocation,” saying “The organizers are well known for their ties with global Jihad, Al Qaeda and Hamas. (Their) intent was violent, their method was violent, and the results were unfortunately violent.”

Shameless lies from a criminal caught red-handed, Haaretz’s Gideon Levy saying:

“The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs (distributing) false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle….There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy (its) web of explanations, lies and tactics.”

In Washington, of course, they’re echoed along with toned down pious indignation publicly, but privately, assurances of solid US-Israeli relations are affirmed.

On May 31, White House spokesman William Burton said:

“The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy,” stopping short of condemning crimes too grave to ignore and demanding harsh measures in response to premeditated slaughter.

Much the same from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (a reliable Israeli ally) stating:

“It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation,” stopping short of demanding it and full accountability.

Saying he “deplored in the strongest terms the killing of civilians,” Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, like his EU counterparts, said it was “indispensable that there be an inquest to ascertain the facts, which are still not clear.”

They’re very clear. Israeli forces planned and executed a premeditated attack against peaceful humanitarian activists, trying to deliver essential to life aid to Gazans under siege – to break Israel’s attempt to suffocate and starve them.

The Wall Street Journal online headlined “More than 10 Dead After Israel Intercepts Gaza Aid Convoy,” saying (like most US media reports) that “An Israeli military spokesman said later in the day that some activists ‘appeared’ to be armed with guns, and fired at the Israeli soldiers, though it wasn’t clear who fired first.”

The activists, in fact, were unarmed civilians, delivering vitally needed humanitarian aid to 1.5 million Gazans, trapped under siege for three years this month. Without provocation, they were maliciously and willfully attacked in international waters by armed Israeli commandos with orders to open fire if the convoy failed to abort its mission.

The best Journal writer Joshua Mitnick could say was “whether the military action was warranted or not (it) threatens to further sully Israel’s international reputation, after a series of recent diplomatic setbacks.”

No mention of the Gaza war, daily West Bank and East Jerusalem incursions, the three-year siege, a 43-year occupation, daily killings, targeted assassinations, homes bulldozed, mass arrests, torture, and Palestinian communities throughout the Territories and in Israel threatened by daily terror.

No mention by European nations either, the EU merely calling for a full inquiry, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (a staunch Israeli supporter) saying he was “deeply shocked by the ‘tragic’ consequences of Israel’s military operation (against) a humanitarian initiative,” but little else. The same hypocrisy echoed from most European capitals, much like already from Washington.

Turkey’s Communist Party’s press statement, in contrast, said:

“The pirate commandos trained by Israel Naval Forces mounted an operation this morning to capture the flotilla carrying aid to Gaza and slaughtered unarmed civilians in the course of this outrageous operation.”

Calling the attack “barbarous,” it “demanded” immediate deportation of Israel’s diplomatic mission, cancellation of Turkish-Israeli military and other agreements, and Israel held fully accountable for its crime against humanity – its specialty against civilians and nonviolent activists.

Al Jazeera reported that “Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news (shouting) ‘Damn Israel’ as police blocked them.”

It also said Israeli radio confirmed at least 19 were killed and dozens injured, quoting IDF spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, saying, “This happened in waters outside Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves,” – the usual response from scoundrels caught red-handed.

Video footage on board the Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara showed Israeli commandos opened fire during the assault, activists saying it began immediately after storming on board.

Al Zazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on the ship, said “a white surrender flag was raised (and) there was no live fire coming from the passengers.”

The Free Gaza Movement reported that “Under darkness of night, Israeli commandos dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck.” No action on board provoked it. It was premeditated, willful slaughter.

The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement expressed sorrow in denouncing the attack, citing it as further “proof that despite claims to the contrary, Israel never ‘disengaged’ from the Gaza Strip but rather continues to control its borders – land, air and sea….hermetically (cutting off) 1.5 million human beings (from) access to the outside world” and vitally needed humanitarian aid.

Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, claimed “They initiated the violence,” and the IDF insisted it responded when its forces “were attacked with knives, clubs, and even live fire.” Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said soldiers were forced by violent acts to respond with live fire.

They lied.

Viewing the video footage, Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reported that:

“All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical (and other humanitarian) supplies on board.”

Other footage showed black-clad commandos descending from helicopters, then immediately opening fire on deck against peaceful activists.

Israeli forces seized the ship and a smaller one, took them to Israel’s port of Ashdod, and censored all information on the assault.

The Flotilla, with 700 activists, left Cyprus at 3:00PM (1200 GMT) Sunday, on the last leg of their journey, heading for Gaza, hoping to arrive by daylight. Six hours after departure, three Israeli missile boats left Haifa to interdict it, according to reporters on board before being ordered to turn off their cell phones.

The convoy hoped to break the siege and deliver over 10,000 tons of vitally needed aid, including food, medicines, educational, construction, and other materials. Israel warned it would intercept and abort the mission, giving no details except to say ships would be seized, then taken to Ashdod.

A May 31 Gaza Freedom March.org press release called for a “global response to killings on the Freedom Flotilla,” saying:

“We, Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and international activists, call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings….against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla….and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.”

“We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women on the Flotilla and join the many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the international protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again” to be an international outlaw. “Join a growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinian are entitled to the same rights as (all) other people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation over and the 6 million Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.”

Stand in solidarity for their freedom in peace, and demand nothing less, including full accountability for Israeli officials responsible for high crimes of war and against humanity.

On board the Flottilla are over 700 activists from 40 countries, including 35 politicians and a Nobel Peace laureate, Mairead McGuire, who protesting with Bil’in village activists against Israel’s Separation Wall, in April 2007, was shot and injured with a rubber bullet, then tear-gassed, overcome, and had to be taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

Again, she and 700 others risked their lives to deliver vitally needed aid. In solidarity, people of conscience everywhere must support them and demand full accountability for the latest Israeli crimes too grave to ignore.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 8:56 AM  

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Through the Fog of Deception

By Nahida

Why I am not writing on Palestine Think Tank anymore

PeaceMonger asked…

“…Nahida, what happened to your article from last year on Palestine Think Tank? ”

=============================================

In April 2010, after years of association, contribution and strong support for Palestine Think Tank (PTT), I took the painful decision to stop contributing to it anymore, and to ask that my articles be removed. I could no longer be associated with it, for reasons I explained to Mary Rizzo, PTT’s editor. To answer to PeaceMonger and to whomever may wonder why I vanished from PTT, and also to shed a light on a pernicious problem inside PTT, please let me share with you excerpts of my letter to PTT’s editor:

Start quote: (links added)

“The clarity of vision and the unconditional support for Palestine with its all shades of resistance -that we were used to and were in love with- is what made me a fervent reader of PTT and a passionate admirer of you and your work

Lately, however, something has changed; I have been very disturbed by the new direction and new political orientation that PTT is taking:

* Attacking the stronghold of Palestinian resistance Hamas, tainting its integrity and participating in spreading unfounded accusations and slanderous myths of corruption, treason, terrorism and drug dealings. (even accusing it of illegitimacy, and equating it with “israel”).

* Smearing the Palestinian society at large, at a moment when they need every drop of support, by focusing on some criminal acts by certain Palestinians and tainting the whole society because of such acts of criminality; it’s not a matter of denying the crimes and wrong doings of few leaders and some members of the society, it’s not a matter neither of silencing the necessary opposition against corruption and self criticism, but rather, it’s the timing and the and the failure to calculate the detrimental effect of over-emphasising such issues, on the Palestinian cause. I view all this as fatal strategic error

* Demoralizing of individuals and groups who –more than anyone else- have sacrificed their time, assets, effort and even lives in order to stand by Palestine and to give the besieged in Gaza a message of love and hope, that the world hasn’t forsaken them, as did Viva Palestina’s convoy recently.

* It has become obvious, that PTT has fallen under the influence of a tiny clique who denies, misses or dismisses the fact that Arab (i.e. also Palestinian) identity is deeply rooted and anchored in Islam as a culture and way of life. Even Christian Arabs and other minorities living in Arab countries, are more influenced by Islam’s customs and social life, than by westernized Euro-centrism.

* This group pretends to be representative of all Palestinians, they gave themselves the right to speak on our behalf without the consent of all Palestinians, which I and many other Palestinian contest and fiercely object to.

* This ultra-westernized tiny circle now influencing and steering PTT sees the USA, NATO and its allies as saviours of Palestine, it sees and promotes racist ideas that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians are unqualified to sorting their own problems; their societies are corrupt, backwards and dysfunctional.

* Secularization and westernizing of Arab countries is a tool used by the neo-colonial forces, the same who have engaged in ever more bloody wars against Arab countries AND against Islam.

* I see that this change of PTT feeds the zionists propaganda and serve it’s hasbara machine, it offers them precious gifts that justifies their self-promoting leadership as a necessity for peace, progress and stability in the Middle-East

………… I can not afford to be associated with the new direction that PTT has been taking, which is extremely detrimental to the Palestinian cause.”

End quote.

One of the people I allude to is Kawther Salam now co-editor of PTT, who between a few good articles, often inserts massive deconstruction and undermining of the Palestinian support, literally peddling zionist manipulation, smear campaigns and hasbara.

With a “Palestinian” like Kawther Salam –co-editor on PTT- who needs Hasbara:

Start quotes:

“The Palestinian civil society is sick of the so-called Hamas authority”, the radical Palestinian movement which distorts the face of Islam, and which has turned the holy mission of the Palestinian struggle into a struggle for their own pockets and unknown foreign agendas.”

We, all the Palestinians, are sick of both of you..”

“…..you turned yourselves into the puppets of Israel, USA, Khaled Mishal, and other foreign countries and interests

“also remind the President-in-dreams, Ismael Haniyeh, and his unknown gangs of paid thugs and donkeys, that his so-called “presidency” over Gaza is illegal, and that he is guilty of the death and the murders of hundreds of the innocent Palestinians in Gaza, just like the Israeli are guilty of murders, terrorism and other crimes.
You are responsible for the death of hundreds of sick Palestinians in the same way the Israeli criminals who imposed the siege on Gaza and denied many patients the basic rights of medical treatment.

Your illusory presidency is responsible for the death of many poor people trying to bring in needed goods in the tunnels under the earth of Gaza. Your illusory presidency is responsible and guilty of torture of many prisoners detained illegally. Your illusory presidency is responsible for the famine and the poverty in Gaza just like the criminal Israeli regime.”

Most of the Hamas militants, just like their Fatah counterparts, are criminals and extremists. Both organizations are infiltrated by the Israeli intelligence system”

“Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes are illegal and have no real legitimacy…”

“Both Fatah and Hamas have lost any claims to legitimacy…… Both factions are infiltrated by jewish zionist interests…………….. they have achieved nothing but to disgrace themselves. They have no more legitimacy than israel.”
Kawther Salam on May 20th, 2010 at 12:47:

***********************************************

In contrast here are the views of Kawther Salam about the society of zionist occupier and her “cute” soldiers from her own diary:

***********************************************
My Israeli friends helped me always to survive, and “DINA LEE” is still responsible about all of my expenses.
Kawther Salam, monday, 1st.April,2002

I remembered the Jewish family I lived with them in Tel-Aviv………
and the small child I left him there, I should be with “Romi” instead to be in the middle of the garbage.” 15th,April 2002

(btw; by “the middle of the garbage she means the city of AL-KHALIL/ HEBRON)

The soldiers asked me about my political point of view, we talked together like human being, I respect all what they told me” 16th, April 2002

During the Intifadah, my people made reverse 50 years against women”, Monday, 3rd June 2002

I called my Israeli friends for a help, I don’t have money any more.” !st, July 2002

I looked like the Israelis, like the human being” !st, July 2002

I don’t care if “Tall”, “Sharon” or “Arafat”, will be the winner through
this “Election”.

I will not be sad, if it will be a “Jewish State ….. then we can lead the all Middle East!!….We can lead all the Arab countries, lead the Middle East “Economic“, We will be more strong, more …and more!!” 2ed, July 2002

my Israeli friends, who give me security and confidence in their homes……………. I am part of their daily life.” 7Th. October 2001

“The evening brought a pleasant surprise. Two gentle soldiers who acted politely and even said they were ashamed of their friends.” 9th.& 10th. October 2001

“How could I teach the military commanders serving in Hebron, Colonel DrorWineburg, Colonel Amon Cohen, and Lieutenant Hartzel to overcome racism, discrimination, and intolerance?………………………….. These officers are still victimized” Friday, October 12, 2001

The government corrupts the soldiers today, and corrupts the Israeli civil society for the future, just for political reasons

Lieutenant Hartzel is a good neighbour for my family in Haifa
Friday, October 12, 2001

“I got the news of murdering the Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi……It was a bad news like all other bad news I received about murdering Palestinians
“Both of us, Palestinians and israelis, are living a big “drama” of daily killing in a close, bloody reveange circle…..Looking at this circle it might be difficult to trace the the first acts that cause revenge that caused revange……………………. The resistane of “non violent” Intifada is Legitimate. But killing of innocent Israeli should not be acceptable in this struggle.”
Wednesday, 17th of October 2001

I love my Israeli friends and really enjoyed the time together. We have the same dreams “just, peace and love”

“after few days in Israel with my good friends, the sea and the fun, i feel that I missMY SOLDIERSwho remainde me always my duity to proclaim how bad is the occupation.” 20th of October 2001

These soldiers and this commander are not responsible to be in the security duties.
They are children who do not know better and so are forced to humiliate ………… I also feel victorious and powerfull with my Israeli friends. Many friends.”
23rd of October 2001

most Israeli citizens are good people and they are victimized
Even the soldiers who harassed me, I am always forgiving them because I don’t have any reason to hate other people.” Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I’m willing to have peace, life for everybody, in this region, including my nice soldiers who harassed me and caused psychological pain for me…..These cute soldiers should return back to their families and live their life” Thursday, November 1, 2001

the officer………………… He came with other soldiers. He looked different than before. he smiled like a child. I tried to turn my face to the other side. But the officer walked and approached me.….He came to say to me good-buy. He decided to make reconciliation with me before I leave.…..We talked together about nice things

We were talking like friends. Other soldiers were serounding us very quietly.”
“It was amazing meeting. The same soldiers who used to harasse me im my appartement and the streetcame to say to “L’hitrot” (good-buy). There was a sade expression on their faces. Even on the face of the officer who said to me the day before that he will be very galde if I will leave Hebron.

“I asked myself what happened. He was sade and not happy. I decided to cut this love and hate, attractive and rejecting meeting. I left them.”

I understood that we are human beings that need love instead of hate
Friday, 2nd November 2001.

the officer. He was listening to me carefully with respect
I told him why I decided to arrive the airport drunk. Because I’m not fond of alcohol and I never got drunk before. The officer said, nothing was against me and he shook hands with me and apologized with respect.” Monday, March 04

It was very clear that the soldiers were harassing me as a result of their commanders instructions” 22nd March 2002

Colonel Igal Sharon was a nice commander of the ” IDF ” soldiers in Hebron. He used to deal with all of the human stories I was published in the newspapers…….And while I cuased alot of criticizem noise for Colonel Igal Sharon in the media, he was a nice Commander in Hebron”

Colonel Barokh Najjar was very nice colonel with me either, while I criticized him alot in the media and I caused noise noise for him, But he was respecting me

“Why nobody interesting to hear, talk or write about the nice stories between the Palestinians and the Israelis under this terrible war??”

End quotes

Just a few observations regarding Kawther Salam’s diary and narrative:

-Her relentless attack on Hamas, Fatah and the entire Palestinian society is cold-hearted, callous and shocking, in contrast with her warm feelings, gentle praise and admiration for her “victimized” “peace-loving” “israeli friends” and “cute, child-like soldiers”

-She spells Nakba like zionist do: Naqbah, no educated Arab would write it with Q, because it would cease to mean what it means

– She said she doesn’t know where her “refugee” parents came from originally, which is rather bizarre for a Palestinian refugee!

-In her diary; she never mentioned Palestinian friends, it’s always “israeli” friends or soldier friends

-She claims she was “forced” to leave Palestine, when in fact she begged and worked hard and with the help of her “israeli friends” until she was finally allowed to leave (according to her diary)

– Her pet animal is called “Zahav”, a name no Palestinian would choose by any stretch of imagination, it’s a Hebrew name!

– She also collaborated on three films for Israeli television stations

– She had magically managed to make unprecedented quantum leaps in writing, from some who can barely construct a simple sentence in English in 2002

– To someone who writes complex sentences and “deep” political analysis with “twists”, in a matter of weeks!
– To someone who received Hellman/Hammett Grant “in recognition of her courage in the face of political persecution” just months after arrival in Austria!
– And for more quantum leap jumping and record-breaking; she has been given asylum in three weeks!

– There is even an infantile blog to promote her, laughable, but not in a funny way, her “talents” are praised, she is promoted as a “gifted” writer and an “inspiration” to all Palestinian women

– Finally, I would like to share one of the “gifted” Kawther’s poems:

Quote: “I’m counting the sky stars, hopefully to see him!! Talking to the birds flying, hopefully to meet him!! Asking the sea waves, the zephyr hopefully to talk to him!! Irrigating all flowers, hopefully to smell him!!
Day and night are equal!!
The hour hand pass slowly!!
I’m waiting and waiting…
They killed my hope…
They killed my dreams…
They killed my feeling…
They killed humanity…
They killed and killed…
But tomorrow is coming…
Tomorrow should coming!!
Tomorrow I’ll dance and sing…
I’ll smile and laugh…
Drink and drunk…
Kiss and hug…
Fly and love…
Tomorrow I’ll meet him!!
I’ll get my Freedom!!
Freedom to live…
Freedom to love…
Freedom to talk…
Freedom to travel…
Freedom to have an ID.
Freedom, and freedom and freedom…
I’m dreaming daily…
Dreaming and dreaming…
But I woke up…!” End Quote
var sc_project=5867155; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security=”3d25457e”;

In conclusion, whatever is the motivation of those who infiltrated PTT, whether simply hatred and contempt to their people and culture, or utter foolishness, or something far more sinister like for example perception management, the result is the same: their articles and comments contain poison, a poison extremely detrimental to the Palestinian cause at this moment in time, precisely when public opinion just begins to see Palestine and Palestinians in a more favourable light.

I can not be associated with such smear campaigns waged against the entire Palestinian society, leadership, people and culture.
.

.

Eroding Free Expression in Israel

by Stephen Lendman

This writer’s earlier article exposed how Israel restricted free expression protests to suppress opposition to its Gaza war. It covered efforts by the police, State Prosecutor’s Office, General Security Services (GSS), the courts, and academic institutions to support arrests and imprisonments of Israeli Arabs and Jewish protestors, to keep nonviolent resistance from spreading.

See the complete article at: http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/01/isaeli-prohibitions-against-free.html.

A mid-April article stayed on the theme in discussing state persecution of Israeli journalists, Anat Kam and Uri Blau.

For the complete article, see: http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/04/accelerating-fascism-in-israel.html.

On April 28, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) covered more recent abuses by Israel’s West Bank proxy, Fatah’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) against Muhannad Salahat, a writer and human rights activist. Also, writer Walid al-Hodali’s Preventive Security Service (PSS) arrest, confiscation of his personal computer, and refusal to return it after his release. These actions violate international human rights standards, the Palestinian Basic Law, and other relevant PA ones.

Salahat was arrested, prevented from traveling, and summoned to appear before GIS interrogators. He explained what happened as follows:

On March 28 at 10PM, he was arrested at the Jericho Palestinian Crossing and Search Center, interrogated several times, and not at first given reasons. He was then asked about his writings and documentary films for Al-Jazeera television – “crimes and grave errors that he committed against the Palestinian national project, represented by the Palestinian Authority.”

During detention and interrogation, he was mistreated and forced to let GIS read his incoming emails. After release on April 12, GIS kept his laptop, camera, and external hard drive containing documentary film footage. They also required him to call “all his friends and ask them to end the media campaign that they had launched against the Palestinian Authority.”

On April 15, GIS returned his belongings, after deleting 23 hours of video from his hard drive. On April 19, he tried to cross from Jericho to Jordan, was stopped, then allowed to enter, but prevented by a Jordanian officer who said the PA prohibited his entry. On April 26, he was ordered to appear before the GIS on May 1 with a warning that “failure to appear at the specified time and on the specified date, would result in the issuing of an arrest warrant against him.”

Besides his writing and filmmaking, Salahat is a member of the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (RASED). His persecution continues.

On April 26, al-Hodali was arrested at his Ramallah home. His property was also searched and his personal computer confiscated. He was then taken to PSS headquarters, interrogated about his political affiliations, and released. He reported that as of late April, his computer hadn’t been returned.

PCHR expressed “grave concern (about) the re-occurrence of attacks against the right to freedom of expression and press freedoms.” It stressed the importance of protecting journalists, the media, and human rights activists, “and of taking all necessary measures to allow them to perform their work freely.”

The Palestinian Basic Law and international standards affirm free expression and opinion. So is the freedom of movement principle. Violating them by or for Israel or any other authority is unacceptable any time, under any conditions, for any purpose.

Knesset Legislation to Conceal Information and Stifle Dissent

An Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel April 29 press release discussed Israeli human rights groups’ response to a proposed Knesset bill to suppress information exposing serious international law breaches, calling it a danger to democracy.

At issue is a proposed Associations (Amutot) Law (Amendment – Exceptions to the Registration and Activity of an Association), introduced on April 28, that if passed, will prohibit the registration of any NGO if:

“there are reasonable grounds to conclude that the association is providing information to foreign entities or is involved in legal proceedings abroad against senior Israeli government officials or IDF officers, for war crimes.”

Existing NGOs will also be subject to closure under the proposed law.

It’s contrary to international criminal and humanitarian law standards. If enacted, it will be “an official admission (by Israel) that it is committing war crimes.” It will also force human rights organizations (and other public voices) to be silent and cease efforts to prevent the continuity of such actions, or face prosecution.

The bill validates other Israeli crackdowns against human rights organizations in recent months. More on that briefly below.

“The legislation also seeks, contrary to all constitutional principles, to restrict the freedom of expression and freedom of association of these organizations, and also creates public de-legitimization of their educational, legal and public role.”

Further, the bill will impede efforts of victims to seek redress by excluding them from Israel’s legal system. It tells Palestinians and the world that their lives and rights don’t matter, a message well understood in the Territories.

What better argument for exercising universal jurisdiction, the right of all nations to investigate and prosecute foreign nationals who commit the most serious crimes, especially related to war and against humanity – Israel’s specialty, yet they, in fact, used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann for his holocaust crimes, only indirectly connected to Israel.

Universal jurisdiction doesn’t supersede national prosecutions. It complements them as an authority to act when criminal nations won’t, and implicit in the principle is they must to assure the rule of law and not let its worst abusers go unpunished.

The following Israeli human rights groups responded to the proposed legislation: Adalah, B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Bimkom, Gisha, Hamoked, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI), and Yesh Din.

They accused Israel of breaching international law, saying:

“Instead of defending democracy, the sponsors of this bill prefer to reduce it to ashes. This bill is the direct result of irresponsible leadership that is doing all it can to undermine democratic values and the institutions that are the backbone of a democracy: the Supreme Court, a free press, and human rights organizations,” supporting rights that nations and others violate.

If enacted, this measure will represent “an unprecedented moral nadir within the Israeli house of parliament,” that in recent years has become increasingly hard line, embracing a doctrine typical of fascism.

For months, Israel security forces, politicians, and extremist groups have been targeting the above human rights organizations and others (including Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, and international ones) for supporting Goldstone Commission findings and demanding accountability.

In February, 2010, activists were arrested, held in prison and then deported, including Spanish journalist Ariadna Jove Marti and Australian student Bridgette Chappell. Both women belong to the International Solidarity Movement, yet an IDF spokesperson said they were “involved in illegal riots that obstruct Israeli security operations.”

Thirteen human rights organizations condemned this and similar abuses, B’Tselem among them (on February 2) saying:

“A democracy must not silence critical voices; protecting human rights is vital.”

Hagai Ed-Ad, Executive Director of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) added:

“Human rights organizations are the moral conscience of our society. Their activity is a critical element of a healthy democracy. A democratic country does not support the deliberate silencing of the critical voices that operate within it but deals honestly with what needs to be corrected.”

Netanyahu’s government has accelerated Israeli fascism with a supportive Knesset, its most racist in history according to a recent Mossawa Advocacy Center study, including passing laws in violation of Supreme Court rulings as well as international norms and standards.

In Israel and the Territories, extremism and repression occur daily. In a May 2 press release, the West Bank-based “Friends of Freedom and Justice – Bilin” highlights one of many abuses, saying:

“Iyad Burnat, a leader in the popular struggle against the Israeli wall, was banned by Israel’s military from crossing (into) Jordan on Saturday.”

Burnat heads the local anti-Wall committee in Bilin, where organized protests have been ongoing for five years, despite repressive violence, arrests, and unprovoked killings.

He called this latest incident “just another episode of Israel’s aggression on us….soldiers detained me for three hours and then told me to go back (saying it was) for security reasons.”

In 2009 and recent months, Israeli security forces killed 29 Palestinians during nonviolent protests against the Separation Wall, including Bassem Abu Rahma, shot at close range in the chest with a high velocity tear gas bomb. Dozens of others have been targeted, arrested, brutalized during incarceration, and held up to 10 months for their activism and popular resistance.

On April 30, in honor of International Workers’ Day by the Union of Palestine Workers, Bilin protestors gathered at the Wall. Straightaway, they were attacked by tear gas, then arrests, including an international activist (roughed up, thrown to the ground, and injured), a female journalist, and Al-Jazeera cameraman, Haitham al-Khatib, struck in the stomach by a tear gas canister.

In March 2010, the IDF declared the area between Bilin and the Separation Wall a closed military zone from 8AM – 8PM on Fridays, the day protest marches and demonstrations occur. Nonetheless, Burnat says:

“We will not be silenced, we will continue to resist, we refuse to die in silence, we will continue to cry out for peace and justice to a world whose ears are deaf to the agony of Palestine,” as well as to increasing harshness against Jews and others who expose Israeli crimes and demand accountability.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 3:13 AM  

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Video: War Crimes Boss Netanyahu meets protest in Toronto Canada

Via Window Into Palestine

Monday, May 31

War Crimes Boss & Criminal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets protest in Toronto Canada to raise more money for the State of Israhell to commit more crimes against Palestine and the rest of the world. Like a cry baby this punk did not go on his walk for Israel but instead opted to go and tell more bullshit to try and defend Israel’s position in a little conference for pro Israel supporters and Jews.

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Time is working against the State of Israel

Rehmat’s World

May 31, 2010 ·

The title of my post is from an article written by Ari Shavit and published in Israeli daily Ha’aretz on May 27, 2010. In his Zionist ‘self-denial’ Ari Shavit called four Israeli military humiliations as “the unilateral withdrawals”. He listed his “lamentable events” as Southern Lebanon in 2000, Gaza Strip in 2005, Olmert’s 34-day Lebanon War of 2006 and Olmert’s 23-day war on Gaza in December-January 2009. According to Ari Shavit these events have “strengthened Hizbullah to an unprecidented extent” and have “lead to a dangerous erosion of Israel’s legitimacy”.

The other threats to the survival of the Zionist entity listed by Ari Shavit are – the militarization of Jew settlers; Palestinians’ lack of interest in the two-state solution and the demographic situation created by Israeli Occupation.

After listing those realities which are threatening the very existence of the Zionist entity – Ari Shavit discusses the ‘self-denial’ nature of the radical Jewish establishment, which believes that by “putting breaks on Barack Obama’s” Middle East initiatives will give Israel plenty of time to pull out of its current mess. For example, “if we don’t give in, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas, the pesident of the ‘State of West Bank’) will give up” or “Israel was established as a fact on the ground, and will succeed as a fact on the ground”. Ari Shavit concluded that the “illusion that military might and economic prosperity are enough to assure our future” is misplaced and dangerous.

Somehow, Ari Shavit’s narration of the Israeli situation reminds me of Israel’s second national anthem (first being the Hativkah or ‘The Hope’) since the so-called Six-Day War of 1967, ‘Jerusalem of Gold’, which its writer, Noami Shemer (d. 2004), had plagiarized from a Basque lullaby, Pello Joxepe (listen it in video below), written almost 50 years before the European Jews established their colony in Palestine in 1948.
I will try to response to some of the ‘myths’ mentioned by Ari Shavit by quoting ONLY the western sources.

1. How Israel was established?: “When you read the history of Israel from an objective source, you discover that it is an outlaw state, created by the poweres that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since,” – John Kaminski, an American writer who was first to challenge the official 9/11 story and blamed Israel and its American poodles being behind it. He was thrown out by RBN radio host, John Standimiller, who shouted: “We don’t want to be on ADL’s hit list”.
2. What happened in Southern Lebanon in 2000? In fact, Shias ran the IDF out of Southern Lebanon in 2000. “The Israelis fight like sissies from fighter jets, dropping bunker-buster bombs on defenseless women and children. That’s real manly! They roll across the border in heavily-armored tanks, confident that they’ll be impervious to Hezbollah’s weaker arsenal. Only lately, those tanks have had the surprising habit of turning into human crematoria for the Israeli soldiers inside them. So why don’t they get out of their tanks and fighter jets and go toe-to-toe with Hezbollah like real men? The fourth most powerful military in the world has been given a shiny black eye that no amount of make-up will ever be able to hide. The aura of invincibility they so haughtily projected is now tarnished beyond repair. Bragging rights go to Hezbollah, as Israel eats its long-overdue humble pie. Why do I feel so strongly about this, you might ask? Because Israel has made me, an American taxpayer, complicit in their war crimes, and I, for one, am glad to see them finally getting their comeuppance,” – Joanna Francis, a US Catholic writer and women right activist in Hizbullah 2: Israel 0.
3. Did Israel win in 34-day war in 2006 against Hizbullah? “The funniest bit is the way desperate suckers are trying to spin total defeat of the IDF into some kind of victory. What’s impressed me is that no Israelis are saying that. All the Israeli commentators I’ve read have faced up to the fact that they got hosed. It’s the Americans, totally out of touch with reality and desperate to stay that way, who are finding lame excuses for the IDF, like “Hezbollah didn’t really WIN, since they didn’t wipe out Israel,” – Gary Bretcher in Gophers by TKO: Lessons from Lebanon, The Exile, August 25, 2006.
4. What Israel achieved out of Olmert’s war on Gaza? “Hamas clearly still has plenty of fighting spirit, shown by the defiant words of Meshaal and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya. If it cannot score a military victory, as Hizbullah did in Lebanon in 2006, it aims at scoring a political one, by sitting with all parties involved, to re-open the Rafah Crossing, which was closed when Hamas took over Gaza in 2007,” – Sami Moubayed in Israeli leadership out of touch on Gaza, January 12, 2009.
Dr. Elias Akhleh, a Palestinian-American Christian writer in his May 30 article, The biggest threat to peace in Middle East, wrote:
A build up of heightened tension in the Middle East is escalating in the last few weeks. American and Israeli postures towards Lebanon, Syria, and Iran have become more threatening…… Indeed Iran is, as it has been for last few years, the target of most of the threats and accusation of supporting terrorism. Escalating incitement against Iran the American Defense Department sent Last month (April) to Congress a report on Iran’s military claiming Iran could develop intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US by 2015.

Ignoring the fact that N. Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel are proven to have nuclear weapons while Iran does not, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose in her speech, to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference at the UN, to focus on Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions putting the whole world at risk as she put it. According to Clinton Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, rather than Israel’s more than 200 nuclear bombs, is destabilizing the Middle East. She called on world’s nations to rally around US efforts to hold Iran, not other nuclear countries, to account.

A Middle Eastern geopolitical alliance between Turkey, Iran, and Syria and Lebanon seems to take shape. This alliance seems to provide a counterbalance for Israel’s military superiority in the region, and a deterrent to any further Israeli terrorist attack against Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria. Israelis are afraid that they may not be able to win a war as convincingly and with impunity as they used to do, especially after their failures in 2006 Lebanese war and 2008 Gaza onslaught. Israel’s whining about Iran’s and Syria’s weapons is meant to portray the Israelis as the poor victims, and to justify any Israeli aggression against its neighbors. It is meant also to draw in the US for its rescue, as usual. Israel wants a joint American/Israel attack against Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis before their alliance become any stronger. American involvement is the wild card, as it always has been, that will maintain Israel’s superiority in the region.

Obama cited the possibility of nuclear Iran supplying nuclear material to some terrorist groups to be used against the US and its allies. The documented facts proved that the US is the only nuclear country that had secretly supplied nuclear material to terrorist Israel to build its nuclear bombs.

During its short 62 years history Israel had fought 8 wars against its Arab neighbors. It had developed nuclear weapons and did not sign the NPT. It had used chemical and nuclear (DU) weapons against civilians. It violated many UN resolutions. It committed war crimes and many massacres against civilians. It had refused all Arab peaceful gestures and keeps threatening to attack its neighbors. It occupation and destruction of religious sites, especially Islamic, might provoke religious war in the region. Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East.

"A Lebanese-Israeli success story …"

Via Friday-Luch-Club

Lebanon and Israel flags
For Your Entertainment! A shameless letter from Israel: Don’t you love the term, Lebanese-Israeli? Like Arab-American? Eurasian? Ad nauseum Haaretz/ here
My name is Therese Abou-Mrad. I am a student of Political Science and Public Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I live in Kiryat Shmona and my mother tongue is Arabic. I have been in the State of Israel now for ten years; on the day that marks the withdrawal from Lebanon, it is possible to congratulate me, or to note my bad luck, because my father was a member of the South Lebanon Army…….

My father was the former spokesman of the SLA, the governor and commander of a sector in south Lebanon. I grew up in a home that imbued me with the values of loving my homeland and defending my home, those values according to which my father acted in the South Lebanon Army. At the age of 10, I was torn away from my home, from the family and way of life I had known. I had to go to a new country and build a new life in a new society.
I chose to be a regular Israeli citizen. I finished my studies at the Danziger high school in Kiryat Shmona in the year following the Second Lebanon War. In its wake, I decided to do national service in my town. After making a contribution to the country, I went on to study political science at the Hebrew University as part of the program for outstanding students “Atidim – cadets for the public service.”
Today, when I am already 21 years old, I refuse to say to the State of Israel: “you owe me something,” or “you owe my father something.” I have a great deal of criticism about the way in which the withdrawal was carried out by the Israel Defense Forces and the attitude toward the SLA members; there was a betrayal. But at the end of the day, I believe with all my heart that a person is responsible for his future. I chose to overcome the crisis I experienced at such a young age and to continue to grow after that. I have not given up my Lebanese identity for even one moment; I believe fully in the justice of the way my father chose and the decisions he made; but at the same time, I am not prepared to accuse the State of Israel for everything that has not been successful in my life.
During my first years here, I suffered from racism, because children can be very cruel. But when I explained to my friends in junior high why I spoke Arabic, they understood (thank God for their ‘understanding’)….
Nevertheless, it bothers me, as an Israeli-Lebanese youngster, to hear stories in the media that present only the painful angle and ignore the successes. It bothers me to see such melodramatic and one-sided reports that try to play on the viewers’ emotions so as to win a little more rating.
There is no doubt that it is important to relate that even today the SLA members do not live happily and peacefully. I grew up without a family since, except for my parents and brothers, everyone remained in Marjayoun. But it is also important to present the success stories of those who adapted to their new life. Moreover, my father and his colleagues fought for their aims, in order to defend their homes; it annoys me to hear former SLA members, as well as Israelis, claim that the SLA was set up in order to defend Israel. The SLA is my father’s past, my past, and what made me what I am today…”

Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:59 AM

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USS Liberty: American Servicemen Expendable; Don’t Embarrass “Israel”

Source

In two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured. (USS Liberty)

By Tammy Obeidallah

Within the United States, there has been a growing awareness of Palestinian suffering. This has been manifested in the many demonstrations held during Israel’s assault on Gaza from December 2008-January 2009. The boycott of Israeli goods is gaining speed, as well as the campaign to recognize the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid.

Yet there is one tragic and shameful event in particular which serves to discourage Palestinian rights activists. If so-called “patriotic” Americans viciously suppress the concerns of veterans and their families by covering up the murder of their own sailors, what hope is there to recognize the voices of oft-maligned Arabs half a world away?

June 8 will mark the 43rd anniversary of the heaviest attack on an American ship that inflicted the highest number of casualties since World War II. The USS Liberty was an intelligence vessel, patrolling international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The day was clear and sunny; the ship flying the American flag, as was standard. Suddenly and simultaneously, out of that clear azure sky and sea came a two-pronged attack by Israeli air and naval forces. Napalm, gunfire and missiles rained hell on Liberty’s crew for two hours while Israeli torpedo boats closed in.

In that two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured.

The Liberty crew managed to send an SOS, heard by nearby U.S. Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers. Fighter planes launched immediately, however turned back on orders from President Johnson. Naval personnel listening to radio relays heard Johnson say “I don’t care if the ship sinks, I’m not going to embarrass an ally.”

Israel claimed it was a case of “mistaken identity,” in other words, “friendly fire.” Israel’s ludicrous explanation was that pilots thought the USS Liberty was El Quseir, an Egyptian vessel having 1/4 of Liberty’s displacement and half the beam. El Quseir was 180 feet shorter and very differently configured. The Liberty had her name clearly written in English, while the Egyptian ship would have displayed Arabic script.

There are several motives for Israel’s deliberate attack: to prevent the USS Liberty from transmitting intelligence pertaining to massacres by Israeli troops which were taking place in the Golan Heights and that the 1967 War did indeed result from a pre-emptive strike by Israel. The attack could have been used to draw the U.S. into the 1967 War as well. Most of the Liberty’s survivors believe that Israel’s goal was to sink the ship and kill everyone aboard. Had there been no survivors, the attack could have been pinned on an Arab country.

Ward Boston, Jr., himself a U.S. Navy veteran, was the chief legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the USS Liberty attack. In an editorial published by The San Diego Union Tribune, Boston stated then President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered the Navy Court of Inquiry to conclude the attack was accidental. Furthermore, the late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, the Court of Inquiry’s president, was given only one week to gather evidence for the investigation, although a proper inquiry would have taken six months.

“We boarded the crippled ship at sea and interviewed survivors. The evidence was clear. We both believed with certainty that this attack was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew,” Boston wrote. “I saw the bullet-riddled American flag that had been raised by the crew after their first flag had been shot down completely.”

For the official record, Admiral Kidd was ordered to rewrite part of the Court’s findings, including striking Lt. Lloyd Painter’s testimony in which he stated three life rafts filled with seriously wounded sailors were gunned down at close range by Israeli torpedo boats.

Survivors of the USS Liberty attack, their families and the families of those killed have demanded a fair congressional inquiry, to no avail. To this day, survivors have never been allowed to testify publicly. Nor have intelligence officers who received real-time Hebrew translations of Israeli commanders ordering pilots to sink “the American ship.”

The cover-up did not stop at the official report: it extended to commemorations honoring USS Liberty survivors and crew members’ memorials alike. The USS Liberty’s Commander, William L. McGonagle was awarded the Medal of Honor in a quiet ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, not in the customary White House setting.

In 1987, the town of Grafton, Wisconsin proposed naming a new $1 million library–to be built with private donations and an $83,000 federal contribution– The USS Liberty Memorial Library. Days later, Jewish community leaders decried the proposal as “anti-Semitic.” An angry letter from a local rabbi, Gideon Goldenholz, stated the name was “insulting to Jews.” Not surprisingly, the $83,000 federal money was put on hold. Even the priest at Grafton’s Catholic Church came out in opposition to the name, stating “The USS Liberty has become a symbol of hate.” The Milwaukee Jewish Council attempted to block the name and there were several picketers at the groundbreaking ceremony. The USS Liberty Memorial Library was finally dedicated in 1989 after two years of battling well-organized opposition.

Shortly after the library’s completion, Congressman Andy Jacobs (D-IN) inserted an essay entitled “The USS Liberty, 1967-89,” written by former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA) into the Congressional Record. McCloskey pointed out that the dedication of the memorial with the names of the 34 dead was the first public recognition of their service in the 22 years since the attack.

The greatest sacrilege, however, is that these 34 crew members’ tombstones are engraved “…died in the Eastern Mediterranean,” rather than “killed in action.”

There is little hope of real policy change in a country where citizens would denigrate their own veterans, both living and dead, in order to protect a state where perpetrating war crimes is commonplace.
(Visit: www.usslibertyveterans.org)

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Life Aboard an International Activist

 JNOUBIYEH | 1:41 PM

By Ann Wright, CommonDreams

There is nothing easy about planning or conducting an international action, especially with moving parts called ships! Yet, activists on board keep their spirits afloat!

After delays caused by damaged propellers and broken steering mechanisms, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla now reduced to seven ships is heading for Gaza.

Yesterday, May 29, 2010, in a major confrontation, the Greek Cypriot government, under substantial pressure from the Israeli government, refused to allow members of the Irish and Scottish Parliament, and other dignitaries, board Challenger 1 that would bring them to the flotilla waiting some 50 miles from Cyprus. The group travelled to the Turkish Cypriot side of the island and boarded Challenger 1, whose steering had been repaired.

Despite delays and damaged ships, spirit on board the ships is high, particularly on board the Challenger 1 that arrived in the flotilla this morning at 1:30am carrying German members of Parliament, Belgians, Irish and UK citizens, some of whom have been on the three-day odyssey from Crete to Cyprus and now to the flotilla.

In the 36 hours I’ve been on board the 600-passenger Turkish ship, life has developed into a routine of sleeping, eating, watching the horizon. Virtually everyone is sleep-deprived. All of the passengers are activists in their home countries. They have been fundraising, speaking and travelling for months and years for the plight of the Palestinians. They are seldom without email, computers, mobile calls. Yet, on board the ship, there is only expensive satellite phone service, if you brought your own sat phone, and satellite internet service on the ship is only for journalists to file their stories about the flotilla.

So, for the first time in many months, very active people have extra time on their hands. Time for lengthy conversations with activists from the other 50 countries, time for interviews with the considerable media and time for a well-needed nap on the floor of the deck or in one of the passenger lounges.

The Mava Marmara is a day passenger ferry with no cabins or private areas. About ninety percent of the passengers come from Muslim countries, mostly Arab-Muslim, but substantial delegations from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country and from Malaysia. In deference to cultural norms, one lounge has been turned into a women’s only lounge, where women eat, sleep and hold conversations on humanitarian programs, religion and a variety of other topics, as women are wont to do. Women have free run of the ship and participate in all the activities of the ship, but do have a “refuge” from the activity of the ship.

Meals on board an activist ship rather than a cruise liner are basic, but very good. Hot tea and Nescafe are available 24 hours a day as is powdered soups. Breakfast is tomatoes, feta cheese, bread, honey. Lunch and dinner is from cans—the choices are beef and potatoes, beans and rice stuffed peppers. Apples and oranges are available during the day. Snacks of nuts, bread and muffins. Last night, we had our first hot meal. The IHH staff cooked a meal of grilled meat kabobs, with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Conversations automatically turn to Gaza.

Those of us who have been in Gaza, particularly since the Israeli 22 day attack over one year and five months ago that killed 1440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless, describe what we saw—the destroyed buildings, lives turned upside down and yet an incredible spirit of the Palestinians to survive the horrific effects of the Israeli attack and long term brutal effects of the three year siege that has made Gaza an “open-air prison.”
Last night, all the passengers on the ship gathered to hear from the leaders of the various groups that had sent materials and delegations. Turkey, Greece, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland all gave spirited talks about why they have worked so hard to be here.

I’ve just been told that we are going to transfer 4 of us whom have been on the Marmara onto the Challenger 1 so 4 on that boat will be able to come on the big ship.

So, off I go to back to the small boat and then off to Gaza we go, I hope!

Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. Wright made three trips to Gaza in 2009 and helped organize the Gaza Freedom March that in December, 2009 brought 1350 persons from 44 countries to Cairo, Egypt in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza. She is the co-author of the book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” (www.voicesofconscience.com)
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Hebrew Culture for Dummies by Gilad Atzmon

In the last few days Israel was singled out by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation conference’s decision to note Israel as a country’s whose facilities must be regulated as “fundamentally wrong and duplicitous.” This happens for a reason. As much as Israel insists to operate as a modernised high-tech Jewish Ghetto, it also persists in being the biggest threat to world peace. Seemingly, nations are starting to show some real signs of fatigue of the Jewish state and its collective lunacy. But the bad news from Israel doesn’t stop just there. The Sunday Times reports today that Israel stations nuclear missile in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.

 This doesn’t leave much room for doubt. Following the suicidal Massada narrative, the Jewish state is now doing everything it can to escalate the situation in the Middle East into a nuclear world war.

This brings us back to the Free Gaza Flotilla that aims to deliver necessary aid to the besieged Gazans. It doesn’t take a genius to gather that in addition to its humanitarian mission, the Free Gaza Flotilla has a simple symbolic role. It is there to direct world attention to the unbearably grim situation in Gaza. Gaza is the biggest jail in the history of humanity. It is a concentration camp for 1.5 million Palestinians, many of them 1948 refugees. The Gazans have been living in a blockade for four years. They are subject to air raids, warfare with WMDs, they are starved and face severe shortages of water, petrol, electricity and medical supplies.

The Flotilla should also be realised as a symbol of world fatigue of Israeli barbarism. As such, the Flotilla can only win. It will win if Israel let it through to accomplish its crucial humanitarian mission but it will also win if Israel stops it off shore, detains its participants and sends some of them to jail as Israel has vowed to do. Israel can only lose here and its leadership may want to think twice on how to minimise the damage they are about to inflict upon themselves.

The Jewish state is very engaged with Jewish history. Yet, Israelis have managed to draw the very wrong historic lesson. Rather than becoming a compassionate and merciful nation, Israel has become an ultimate merciless evil. It locks the indigenous population of the land in concentration camps. It existentially threatens the entire region with its nuclear arsenal. It indeed looks as if the Jewish state gave up on the possibility to become a nation amongst nations. It gave up on humanism.

Following the astonishing statistical figure of 94% of Israelis supporting the 2009 genocidal assault on Gaza, the Israeli leadership gathers that inflicting pain on others translates into political popularity in the Jewish State’s street. Currently, the Israelis seem to gain a lot of pleasure from watching their kosher Navy chasing cement and paper on its way to Gaza. As I write these words, 6 boats are making their way to Gaza. Their humanitarian mission is sacred. This Flotilla is also a symbol of our resentment towards Israeli barbarism. Israel better listen to the nations now because the world’s ability to endure tolerance to Zionist brutality is running out fast.

Well Wishs from Cindy and Graig Corrie

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National parties intend to take Sabri case to UNCHR

[ 30/05/2010 – 05:53 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The national campaign to defend teacher Mirvat Sabri decided to take her case to the UN commission on human rights (UNCHR) as she is still imprisoned arbitrarily in Mahmoud Abbas’s jails in the West Bank and exposed to constant maltreatment.

The family committee of detainees in West Bank jails said for its part on Sunday that Sabri is a young mother of two little children one aged five and the other still a baby, and a wife of Abdulfatah Shreim, who is also a prisoner in Abbas’s jails in Beitunia.

The committee added that Sabri was kidnapped by Abbas’s security militias many times, the latest was in April after she was summoned to the court and the judge ordered her detention on a charge of helping her husband in harboring outlaws (two Palestinian resistance fighters affiliated with Hamas)

The committee highlighted that the detention of Sabri is a criminal offense that cannot be legally or morally justified and a reflection of the state of savagery and the absence of freedoms that prevail in the West Bank and many of Hamas-affiliated Palestinians are suffering from.

It expressed its dismay at the state of silence demonstrated by human rights organizations, media outlets and all Palestinian factions towards a Palestinian mother being deprived of feeding her young baby and locked up in a cell just because she made her home a place for Palestinians who resisted the occupation.

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Galloway supports flotilla

band annie’s Weblog

By bandannie
George Galloway founder of the worldwide Viva Palestina movement and leader of three land convoys which broke the siege on Gaza today hailed the heroic sea-borne aid effort steaming towards Gaza.

Speaking from Miami Florida where he is in the middle of a twelve city speaking tour of the US on Palestine Galloway hailed the Turkish humanitarian organisation IHH which has organised and leads the flotilla as “heroes” who are facing the hardships of the seas and the threats of violence from Gaza’s beseigers the Apartheid state of Israel.

Galloway called on all people and governments of goodwill to insist on safe passage for the hundreds of humanitarians on board the ships and the unmolested delivery of the vital aid supplies on board.

Promising on behalf of Viva Palestina Arabia a second sea convoy later in the year – again in partnership with IHH – Galloway thanked the government of Turkey and it’s incomparable prime minister Erdogan for showing the world the way to peacefully confront the international crime being committed against the people of Palestine.

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The Gaza flotilla and the ironies of history


Richard Irvine, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2010

A ship with the Freedom Flotilla prepares to set sail for Gaza. (Free Gaza)

No one can accuse history of not having a sense of irony. Sixty-three years ago in July 1947 a passenger ship destined for Palestine and named The Exodus was stopped and boarded by the British Navy. The ship was crowded with Holocaust survivors determined to make a new life for themselves in British controlled Palestine but did not have official immigration permits. Facing terrorism by Zionist organizations, waves of illegal immigration by Jews fleeing the displaced persons camps in post-war Europe, and resistance by Palestinian Arabs to the increasingly powerful and belligerent Zionist movement emboldened by its growing numbers, Britain was determined to stop the ship. Accordingly when the Royal Navy boarded the ship twenty miles out from Haifa a full scale battle ensued. Three of the immigrants were killed and dozens injured as British troops beat the passengers on to three separate prison ships. From there these Holocaust survivors were transported back to Germany and were once again placed in camps. The world was horrified; an American newspaper ran the headline, “Back to the Reich.” Delegates from the UN Special Commission on Palestine who watched what occurred were similarly shocked; the Yugoslav delegate cited that what happened to The Exodus “is the best possible evidence we have for allowing Jews into Palestine.”

Since then the fate of The Exodus has achieved legendary status: Leon Uris used it as the basis of his 1958 bestseller of the same name; an award winning film starring Paul Newman came out in 1960. Indeed, The Exodus the book and film, painted an exceedingly favorable portrayal of the Zionist movement and the fledgling state, arguably helping the US and Europe to overcome their guilt for historic anti-Semitism and inaction during the Holocaust by supporting Israel. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban drew a direct link between The Exodus story and the ending of British rule in Palestine. Tellingly a 1996 documentary celebrating the story is entitled, Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation.

Today another small flotilla of ships is making its way to Palestine. Crammed with humanitarian aid and some 600 international peace activists and human rights workers it is set for Gaza.

Synonymous with violence and poverty Gaza is home to 1.5 million dispossessed and imprisoned Palestinians. Under Israeli control since 1967 Gaza has seen it all and been through it all. Yet the events of the last two years are without precedent. Under blockade since 2007, bombarded in a three week long assault that is called a war, its people have been barely subsisting since. As Dov Weissglas, an advisor to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained in 2006, Palestinians were to be “put on a diet.” Today much that is essential for everyday life in Gaza is banned — for either “security reasons” or because they are “luxury items”: cement is banned, pencils banned, paper banned, toys banned, medicines and food restricted.

Of course you can agree with all this and say it is “the terrorist” organization Hamas that is to blame. You can say that even though all this is illegal under international law it is necessary for Israel’s security. Or you can ask how banning toys is fighting terror?

Like Mary Robinson after the war you can be shocked of course: “Their whole civilization has been destroyed, I’m not exaggerating … It’s almost unbelievable that the world doesn’t care while this is happening.” Or you can believe Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Despite Hamas’ war crimes against Israeli citizens … Israel continues to respond in the most humane way possible.”

Regardless of whom you choose to believe, this weekend you are likely to see another example of Israel’s humanity. Reportedly a quarter of Israel’s Navy has been mobilized to ensure the aid flotilla does not get through. The Israeli press reports that just like the British all those years ago, plans have been made to stop the aid flotilla twenty miles out to sea and transfer the passengers to holding camps or prisons inside Israel before deporting them. For Israel’s foreign minister this is not an aid convoy, but “a blatant provocation” and “violent propaganda.” Which is odd really since the convoy, if left unimpeded, will not go near Israel.

However, even if Israel does stop the convoy it should be aware that its position on blockading a whole people is not sustainable. At the time of The Exodus affair future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared: “To Britain we must say: it is a great illusion to believe us weak. Let Great Britain with her mighty fleet and her many guns and planes know that this people is not weak, and that its strength will stand it in good stead.” Replace Great Britain with Israel and the same applies today.

Richard Irvine teaches a course at Queen’s University Belfast entitled “The Battle for Palestine” which explores the entire history of the conflict. Irvine has also worked voluntarily in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and taken part in olive planting and harvesting in the West Bank.

Two families ordered to evacuate homes in Sheikh Jarrah, settlers burn shop

[ 30/05/2010 – 10:50 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Two Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem were ordered on Saturday to evacuate their homes within 45 days, local sources said.

An Israeli lawyer sent the two families a warning that they would pay around 100 dollars for each extra day if those 45 days elapsed without abandoning their homes.

The message did not mention the name of the party that claimed ownership of those homes. Zionist settlers allege they own 28 houses in the eastern area of Sheikh Jarrah.

Meanwhile, Zionist settlers in the notorious Kiryat Arba settlement in Al-Khalil city set a Palestinian shop and apartment on fire near that settlement.

Mohammed Al-Ja’bari, who is an inhabitant of the Old City of Al-Khalil, said that neighbors alerted him that his shop was on fire at dawn Saturday.

He said that the fire destroyed the shop and a vacant apartment above it, charging that the settlers started the fire in front of the very eyes of the Israeli occupation forces, who provided protection for them.

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Israelis see West Bank as a war ‘refuge’

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent

Last Updated: May 30. 2010 12:07AM UAE / May 29. 2010 8:07PM GMT

Last week’s national drill was the first time Israel’s settlements had been incorporated into evacuation scenarios. Above, as part of the drill, Palestinian schoolboys take cover at a public school in east Jerusalem. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP

NAZARETH // With most Israelis assuming a new Middle East war is just around the corner, settler leaders are trying to prove to their compatriots that some 120 illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank will provide an indispensable safe haven in time of emergency.

The settlements have drawn up plans to accommodate as many as half a million Israelis forced to flee areas inside the country’s recognised borders if they come under rocket fire in wartime.

Naftali Bennett, the head of the settlers’ main council, Yesha, called the West Bank the ideal “place of refuge for the nation” at a press conference last week. His announcement came in the midst of a week of drills to test the country’s readiness for war.

According to the right-wing Jerusalem Post newspaper, the settlers’ plan has the backing of the two main official bodies in charge of dealing with the protection of Israeli civilians, the Home Front Command and the National Emergency Authority, as well as army commanders in the West Bank.

Mr Bennett said he believed the settlements would be a popular choice with evacuees because they had not been targeted with rockets in recent confrontations, such as the 2006 Lebanon war and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza nearly 18 months ago.

Observers have noted that over the past four years Hizbollah has acquired much longer-range missiles that could reach most of the West Bank.

But Mr Bennett and the settlers appeared to be pinning their hopes on the fact that enemy groups would be loath to fire rockets at the settlements when they are located so close to Palestinian communities.

Hagit Ofran, who monitors settlements for Peace Now, an Israeli group, said the move was a “cynical public relations exercise” designed to endear the settlers to ordinary Israelis.

“This is clearly an initiative from the settlers that they hope will bring them greater legitimacy.”

The national drill is intended to improve co-ordination between emergency services after an investigative panel, the Winograd Committee, severely criticised their failings during the 2006 Lebanon war, a month-long confrontation with Hizbollah.

The Lebanese militia responded to Israel’s bombardment of large areas of Lebanon by firing thousands of rockets into northern Israel, causing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to flee south.

Although it is the fourth drill since 2006, it is believed to be the first time that the half a million settlers and their communities, which are illegal under international law, have been incorporated into evacuation scenarios.

Exercises during the week included rescuing trapped and wounded civilians, evacuating them from areas under rocket fire, and resettling civilians in safe zones.

Elon Moreh, home to more than 1,000 settlers and located close to the large Palestinian city of Nablus in the central West Bank, was reported to have practised “absorbing” refugees from Tel Aviv injured in a mortar attack.

There were similar exercises involving students at the main college in the settlement of Ariel and in some of the 40 settlements in the Binyamin regional council, which surrounds Palestinian communities near East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Mr Bennett said in a real attack there were plans to provide armoured buses to transport people from Tel Aviv and other heavily populated areas of central Israel into the West Bank. He said most parts of Israel were within easy reach of a settlement.

During the 2006 Lebanon war, most fleeing Israelis headed for Eilat, the country’s most southerly resort, or Tel Aviv, where some created makeshift camps on its beaches. Only about 10,000 people were reported to have chosen the West Bank, all of them on their own initiative.

But Mr Bennett said the next war would be different.

The settlements had already devised a programme to absorb 100,000 people in schools, public buildings, offices and homes. He said there was also an “extreme scenario” in which half a million evacuees would be housed, doubling the population in the settlements overnight.

Avi Roeh, the head of the Binyamin council, said the settlers were “a population that gives” and they would organise for tents and simple housing kits to be quickly erected.

Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said there might be “some logic” to the settlers’ claim that their communities could provide shelter from rocket attacks.

“Many Israelis fled Tel Aviv during the first Gulf War [in 1991] but people stayed put in Jerusalem, probably because they thought – rightly – that [Iraq’s leader] Saddam Hussein would not fire on a city that included a large Palestinian population and Islamic holy sites.”

He added that the settlers probably hoped to “strengthen the idea that not only are they ‘the heart of the nation’, as they like to call themselves, but that they are also there to save Israelis in an emergency.”

The national drill culminated on Wednesday in nearly 3,000 sirens wailing across the country as Israelis were urged to head for the nearest shelter, either a public one or in their home. Almost half of Israelis were reported to have taken part.

The Israeli media reported that financial constraints mean the army has only 60 per cent of the gas masks needed to ensure the whole Israeli population is protected from chemical attack.

So far only five per cent of Israelis have been issued with masks after a mass recall a few years ago to refurbish them.

Mohammed Zeidan, the director of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, which published a report shortly after the 2006 Lebanon war on discrimination against Israel’s Palestinian citizens in the provision of bomb shelters, said there had been no change four years later.

“There are still no public shelters in Arab communities and we can guess who won’t get gas masks if there are not enough to go around,” he said.

Some 30 high-level foreign visitors, including the head of the US National Guard, Craig McKinley, were reported to have observed the drill to learn lessons for their own countries.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

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Psychopaths United For Israel

Psychopaths United For Israel

http://revoltoftheplebs.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/psychopaths-united-for-israel/

I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
And the preacher said, “You know you always have the Lord by your side”
Now I was so pleased to be informed of this
that I ran twenty red lights in his honor
Thank you Jesus, thank you lord

                               The Rolling Stones—Far Away Eyes

It cannot be denied that many ‘so-called’ Christians drop the name of Christ like a rich kid drops his daddy’s name to get a good table at an expensive restaurant.  When they say, “Christ paid for it all,” what they really mean to say is “Jesus’ll pick up the tab.”

These very same people will cringe if they hear the words “Jesus Christ’ or ‘godammit’ used in the context of a stubbed toe.  What they don’t realize is that they have been led to believe a false interpretation of the Old Testament’s third commandment.  According to both Greek and Hebrew translations, ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’ refers to those who falsely profess to be doing God’s work or using God’s name for self-indulgent purposes.  We witness this every Sunday when the televangelist preachers take to the airwaves to bilk their congregations out of their life savings.  We also see this from well compensated celebrity Pastors who weekly pander pro-Israeli war propaganda on their gullible flocks.
Nobody does that better than John Hagee, Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.  Last Sunday, Hagee addressed the second annual ‘Christian’s United For Israel’ event that drew fellow psychopaths from all 50 states and 50 nations around the globe.  Hagee spewed the same lies and hateful rhetoric that he’s been propagating for decades.

“Israel is an outpost of freedom and democracy in one of the most undemocratic regions in the world,” Hagee said after the event. “Now is the time for Israel’s supporters, regardless of faith or political ideology, to unite in standing with Israel as she confronts such serious threats from Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.”

Hagee pulled out the same old tired line about the threat of a ‘nuclear holocaust’ from Iran and how President Ahmedinejad vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.” Both are debunked lies that are as ridiculous as Hagee himself.  Iran is nowhere near having the capability to construct a nuclear weapon and President Ahmedinejad’s exact words were“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” 

Hagee also conveyed his frustration with the Obama administration:

“Washington has manufactured a crisis with Israel over building homes for Jewish people in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, something no other American administration has ever done,” Hagee said in a video message before the event. “Now there is talk the administration will impose a peace settlement on the parties whether or not the Israelis believe their security is guaranteed. In my 30 years as a Zionist there has never been a more critical hour for Israel than right now.”

People of Hagee’s ilk love politicians like Obama to kick around.  Their need to feel persecuted is an essential ingredient to lend credence to their ‘end times’ scenario. Obama is just the latest in a long string of perceived Presidential anti-Christs that they’ve been hawking for many a decade. 

In reality, Obama has been towing the line for Israel from day one.  As I made clear in a previous piece, the Obama administration and Israel are in collusion to deceive the people into believing that there is a riff between the two nations.  This is being done so the state of Israel can claim complete inculpability when the U.S. strikes Iran.   Besides, Obama is the Chair of the United Nations Security Counsel and it would be perceived as an act of defiance against the UN itself if he were to come out in support of the settlements.  This conflict of interest is the very reason why our Constitution forbids President’s from holding more than one office at a time.

If Obama were the anti-Semitic, Palestinian sympathizer that Hagee would have you believe he is, don’t you think he would intervene in—or at least condemn—the Israeli government’s blockade of a peace mission currently making its way to Gaza?

Nine ships, collectively known as the Freedom Flotilla, are currently en route to the Gaza shore to deliver over 10,000 tons of much needed humanitarian aid to the impoverished Palestinian people. Three of the ships are from Turkey, two from the UK and one each from Ireland, Greece, Kuwait and Algeria.  Among the international coalition of peace activists on board are European parliamentarians, former US diplomats and Nobel peace laureates.  It is the largest effort of its kind since the Israelis seized the coastal territory in 2007.

Israel has threatened that it will use force to prevent the flotilla from reaching its destination.  The Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Navy have been dispatched to the region with instructions to terminate the peace mission by any means necessary.  The reason the Israeli’s are giving for resorting to such drastic measures is because they seek to prevent arms and materials from reaching the hands of the duly elected Hamas government.

In response, the peace activists have warned Israel that they will ignore their threats and continue on to their destination regardless of the consequences.  According to an article appearing in Al Jazeera Friday,

Huwaida Arraf, from the Free Gaza Movement said “Israel should not be under any illusion whatsoever that their threats or intimidation will stop us or even that their violence against us will stop us.” Hanin Zuabi, a member of the Israeli parliament who is on board the flotilla, told Al Jazeera that the activists intend to reach Gaza regardless of plans to stop them. He said “If the Israelis try to stop us, this will be a huge diplomatic and political crises for them.”

Aid to this battered region is long overdue.  Gaza is a giant prison, sealed off from the world like the island of Manhattan in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York.  The difference is that the people who inhabit this place are not criminals; they are victims of a foreign occupation of terrorists who seek to starve them out of existence.  That is why Israel seeks to deny them aid of any kind.  The Palestinian people are expected to suffer under the thumb of a brutal warden as they watch their children die from a lack of adequate sanitation, basic medical services and food.

Israel knows there are no weapons onboard any of those ships and are well aware that if they harm even one person connected to this peace mission, they will be facing a public relations disaster of epic proportions.

But this won’t stop them.  Israel may be concerned, but they don’t fear the repercussions of an investigation by the United Nations for yet another human rights violation, nor do they care what the rest of the world thinks of them. They know that the United States will always be there to protect them from any threats and continue to provide resources that enable them to rain terror upon the people of that region.

Any decent human being should be appalled by Israel’s callous disregard for human life. Denying people decent living conditions and food is the cruelest form of genocide known to man.  Medical experts agree that death by starvation and dehydration is perhaps the most painful, tortuous, and agonizing way to die.
How our nation can turn a blind eye to this modern day holocaust is unconscionable.  Obama is not concerned with the plight of the Palestinian people.  If he were, he would condemn Israel for their actions and immediately cease any future funding for their murderous campaign.  But this will not happen.  Too many of our politicians are under the control of the Israeli government.

Each year, many of our American tax dollars are sent to Israel in the form of aid and are recycled right back into the coffers of political campaigns.  Each day, Israeli agents in the United States monitor and keep files on the indiscretions of US Senators and Congressman and use that information to control them.  Cutting off funds to Israel and expelling their agents would go a long way in stemming that corruptive influence, but it would certainly not be enough.

Politicians would still be compelled to act on behalf of Israel by of a powerful and influential segment of their constituency.  Unlike politicians, these people have not been bought, nor are they compromised.  Devotion to Israel is part of their religious conviction.  To these people, the fate of Israel is linked to their own salvation. They number in the tens of millions and are perhaps more responsible than anyone else for relinquishing all US foreign policy decisions over to this alien power.  They are the BIG problem, and the blood of our dead soldiers and over a million dead Semitic people are on their hands.

Each Sunday—as Gaza starves—congregations of freshly showered and scented cultists sit on cushioned seats in air-conditioned churches across America, contemplating whether to have lunch at Hometown Buffet or Red Lobster.  They like their church because the pastor wears a Hawaiian shirt and cracks clean jokes with a George Carlin wit.  They like the church band because they’re edgy, like the music they used to listen to before they were converted.   They close their eyes and raise a hand to the sky (Jesus antenna) phishing for reception from the man upstairs as the Dave Matthews look-alike sings songs of praise and worship. 

The church is the size of an arena with a large stage and giant screen in the background.  On the screen is an image of troops huddled in prayer, which fades into an image of a soldier holding a smiling Arab child, which fades into an image of F-16’s blazing across the sky, which fades into an image of troops on tanks handing out bottled water to a thirsty crowd, which fades into an image of a soldier reading the Bible, which fades into…

We all know these people.  They are among our friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.  They call themselves Judeo-Christians, Millenialists, Dominionists and Evangelicals.  They say they worship Christ, but what they really worship…is Israel.

They consider themselves patriotic American’s, but only as long as America stands with Israel.  It is for this reason—above all others—that we are engaged in conflicts throughout the Middle East.

Christian support for war is a recent phenomenon and goes contrary to what Christian’s were taught prior to the beginning of the last century.  The introduction of the Scofield Reference Bible was the turning point that replaced traditional, Orthodox Christianity with Christian Zionism. 

In the late 19th century, the World Zionist movement had set their sights on acquiring land that American Christians referred to as ‘The Holy Land,’ but knew that they would face opposition from obtaining it.  Christians of the time considered Jews to be the persecutors of Christ and his disciples, and would never allow a Jewish occupation of Palestine.

To overcome this obstacle, the World Zionists enlisted the help of The Oxford University Press and an old Civil War Veteran and Pastor by the name of Cyrus I. Scofield.

The plan was to change the Christian attitude towards Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity.  Scofield’s role was to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes in the margins, between verses and chapters, and on the bottoms of the pages.  He was also used as a front to help promote it to the Christian community, where he was held in high regard.  The revised bible was called the Scofield Reference Bible and was given widespread advertisement and promotion.  It soon became the best-selling “bible” in America and has remained so for 90 years.

The Scofield Reference Bible sparked the birth of the modern day Christian Zionist movement.  It redirected the focus of worship away from Jesus Christ and concentrated it directly upon pro-Zionist politics.  Without the support of the American Christian community, Israel would have never come into existence.
Christian Zionists are taught that Jews are the chosen people of God and that mankind is obligated to provide unwavering support to the state of Israel. They believe that if America fails to support Israel in every way, then God will turn his back on them and suffer his wrath.

Christian Zionists will explain away Biblical passages that point to hereditary connections between the true Semitic people and the children of Abraham.  Palestinians and Arabs are to be hated, ethnically cleansed and persecuted if it serves the best interests of the Israeli government.

Bible passages in the Old Testament (2 Kings 6:21 –23, 2 Chronicles 28:9-11, Nehemiah 5:7-11, Jeremiah 34:11-17, Amos 2:6-7) that condemn the kinds of human rights violations committed by the Israeli government are either ignored or justified by Christian Zionists.  Even liberal Jews, who call Israel their home, are more likely to call out their government on humanitarian issues than the Christian Zionist.
The relationship between Israel and the Christian Zionists is a sick and twisted one to be sure.  Each requires the other to die. It’s really nothing more than a murder-suicide pact.

Israel relies on Christian Zionists to sacrifice their money, resources, freedoms and children.  They need these things to wage war on their neighbors and expand their empire.

The Christian Zionists rely on Israel to sacrifice 2/3 of their Jewish population in an apocalyptic war in the Middle East.  They need these things to hasten the return of Jesus Christ so he can usher them up into Heaven.

No sane person would ever allow themselves to be involved in a relationship like this.  But these people are not sane—they are psychopaths.

Every war that has been waged in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has come as a result of this unholy alliance.  It has wreaked devastation upon our economy and has cost countless lives.  But this is more than an economic or humanitarian crisis.  This is a moral crisis that calls into question whether we, as a species, even have the will to keep on living.

70 million Christian Zionists make up the most coveted voting block in America.  All of them pray for the return of their savior so that he may deliver them from this horrible, dangerous place and rapture them up into the safety of his loving embrace.  What chance do we have of saving this world, when the largest segment of our society just can’t wait to leave the world behind? 

RICHARD FALK : REBALANCING THE WORLD

29. May, 2010


BY RICHARD FALK

…this time a ‘real new world order.’ — Richard Falk



It may turn out that May 17, 2010 will be remembered as an important milestone on the road to a real new world order. Remember that the phrase ‘new world order’ came to prominence in 1990 after Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. It was used by George W. H. Bush, the elder of the two Bush presidents, to signify the possibility after the end of the Cold War to find a consensus within the UN Security Council enabling a unified response to aggressive war.
The new world order turned out to be a mobilizing idea invoked for a particular situation. The United States did not want to create expectations that it would always be available to lead a coalition against would be breakers of world peace.
The whole undertaking of a ‘new world order’ disappeared from diplomacy right after the First Gulf War of 1991. What one wonders now is whether the Brazilian/Turkish effort to resolve the Iran nuclear crisis with the West is not expressive of a new world, this time a ‘real new world order.’

May 17th was the day that the Brazilian/Turkish initiative bore fruit in Tehran, with Iran agreeing to a ten-point arrangement designed to defuse the mounting confrontation with the United States and Israel with regard to its enrichment facilities. The essence of the deal was that Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey for deposit, and receive in return 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20% for use in an Iranian nuclear reactor devoted to medical research. The agreement reaffirmed support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as acknowledged Iran’s right under the treaty to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which meant the entire fuel cycle, including the enrichment phase.

The bargain negotiated in Tehran closely resembled an arrangement reached some months earlier in which Iran had agreed to turn over a similar amount of low enriched uranium to France and Russia in exchange for their promise of providing fuel rods that could be used in the same medical research reactor. That earlier deal floundered as Iran raised political objections, and then withdrew. The United States had welcomed this earlier arrangement as a desirable confidence-building step toward resolving the underlying conflict, but it wasted no time repudiating the May 17th agreement, which seemed so similar.

Why the discrepancy in the American response? It is true that in recent months Iran has increased its LEU production, making 1200 kg of its existing stockpile amount to 50% of its total rather than the 80% that would have been transferred in the earlier arrangement. Also, there were some unspecified features in the May 17th plan, including how the enriched uranium would be provided to Iran, and whether there would be a system of verification as to its use. In this regard, it would have seemed appropriate if genuinely troubled by this for Washington to request Iran to transfer a larger quantity of LEU and to spell out the details, but this is not what happened.

Instead of welcoming this notable effort to reduce regional tensions, the Brazilian/Turkish initiative was immediately branded as an amateurish irrelevance by the American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. She insisted that the concerns about Iranian nuclear enrichment be left exclusively in the hands of the ‘major powers,’ and immediately rallied China and Russia (in addition to France and the United Kingdom) to support a fourth round of punitive sanctions that were to be presented to the UN Security Council in the near future. It now appears that the five permanent members of the Security Council will support this intensification of sanctions that is expected to call for an arms embargo on heavy weapons, travel restrictions on Iranian officials, a boycott of banks and companies listed as linked to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and authority to search ships to and from Iran suspected of carrying prohibited items. Such a resolution if implemented would certainly increase tensions in the Middle East without any discouragement of the Iranian nuclear program.  Indeed a new round of sanctions would almost certainly increase Iran’s incentives to exercise its full rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and complete its development of the complete fuel cycle as has been previously done by several other parties to the treaty, including Japan, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Given the generally constructive character of the agreement reached in Tehran, the uncompromisingly hostile reaction in Washington can only be understood in one of two ways, neither of which is reassuring. If the U.S. Government, with or without Israeli prodding, had already resolved to impose sanctions, then any development that seems to cast doubt on such a coercive approach would be regarded as unwelcome. The evidence strongly suggests that the United States was determined to go forward with additional sanctions. This made the Brazil/Turkey initiative seem like a deliberate obstruction that was essentially resented as it has been reported that American leaders tried in talk Brasilia and Ankara out of making any independent steps to resolve the crisis.

Perhaps, the more weighty explanation of the hostile response has to do with the changing cast of players in the geopolitical power game. If this reasoning is correct, then the United States angry response was intended to deliver a reprimand to Brazil and Turkey, warning them to leave questions pertaining to nuclear weapons in the hands of what Hilary Clinton called ‘the major powers.’ In effect, the non-Western world should have no say in shaping global security policy, and any attempt to do so would be rebuffed in the strongest possible terms.

Yet the world of 2010 is very different from what it was in the late 20th century. Globalization, the decline of American power, and the rise of non-Western states have changed the landscape. This process has recently accelerated as a result of the world economic crisis, and the difficulties in the Euro zone. As the famous Bob Dylan 1960’s song goes, “The times, they are a-changing.” Recall that it was not long ago that the G-8 was scrapped in favor of the more inclusive G-20. Recently, as well, much attention has been given to the rise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries. What seems most at stake in this attempt to supersede and nullify the Iran deal is banishing the Brazilian and Turkish intruders from the geopolitical playing field. For the West to claim that the Security Council remains representative of the arrangement of power in 2010 is ludicrous. The identity of the five permanent members has not been altered since 1945, which is a misguided effort to overlook the fundamental shifts in world power that have taken place in recent decades. Both Brazil and Turkey were elected to be non-permanent two year members of the Security Council, which both governments interpret as conferring a special responsibility to work for peace and justice in the world. AS the May 17th agreement shows, these governments possess the political will to make a difference in world politics.

Further, this is not just a childish ploy to grab a few headlines and tweak the old guard. The confrontation with Iran is exceedingly dangerous, agitated by Israel’s periodic threats of launching a military attack and reports of pushing the United States in an escalating direction. Such a strategy of tension could easily produce a devastating regional war, disrupting the world economy, and causing widespread human suffering. Both Brazil and Turkey have strong national interests in working for regional peace and security, and one way to do this is to calm the diplomatic waters with regard to Iran’s contested nuclear program. The fact that Iran seems prepared to go ahead with the agreement, at least if the UN refrains from further sanctions, strongly favors giving the deal a chance to succeed, or at worst, working to make it more reassuring to those countries that suspect Iran of secretly planning to become a nuclear weapons state.

The concern about Iran seems genuine in many quarters, given the inflammatory language sometimes used by President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and considering the repressive internal practices in Iran. At the same time, even in this regard the United States leadership has rather dirty hands. While insisting that Iran cannot be allowed to do what several other non-nuclear states have already done in conformity with Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States has acknowledged that it has been engaged in a variety of military activities under Pentagon auspices within Iranian territory. (For confirmation see Mark Mazzeti, “U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast,” NY Times, May 24, 2010). Also, it is impossible to overlook the dispiriting silence that has long insulated Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal from scrutiny and censure, as well as the closely related refusal of the Western powers to back proposals put forward by Egypt and others for a nuclear free Middle East.

Back in 2003 Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of Defense, made headlines by contrasting ‘Old Europe’ (especially France and Germany) that he denigrated as decadent because it opposed the invasion of Iraq, and ‘New Europe’ that was the flourishing wave of the future in Eastern Europe that favored American policy. Now it is Old Europe that is again partnering with the United States, and so restored to the good graces of Washington. In this sense, Brazil and Turkey are being treated as trespassers who refuse to absent themselves from any further engagement in Middle East diplomacy.

Perhaps, we are witnessing the passing of an era in world politics, which has not yet been acknowledged. It is two decades since Charles Krauthammer, writing in Foreign Affairs, declared that “The immediate post-Cold War world is not multipolar. It is unipolar. The center of world power is the unchallenged superpower, the United States, attended by its Western allies.” The abrupt rejection of the Brazil/Turkey initiative can probably best understood as a nostalgic clinging to the ‘unipolar moment’ long after its reality has passed into history.

Turkey has already demonstrated the enormous gains for itself and the region arising from the pursuit of an independent and activist foreign policy based on resolving conflicts and reducing tensions to the extent possible, with benefits for peace, stability, and prosperity.  Not all of its initiatives have met with success. It tried to encourage the world to treat Hamas as a political actor after it fairly won elections in Gaza back in January 2006, but was rebuffed by Washington and Tel Aviv. Similarly, it brought to bear its mediating skill in trying to broker a peace deal between Israel and Syria, only to have the process break down after a series of promising negotiating rounds. Maybe also the Brazil/Turkey initiative will be effectively beaten down, but that would not mean it was not worth trying, or that such governments should not keep trying to supplant war and militarism with diplomacy and cooperative international relations. Outside of Western diplomatic circles it is already widely appreciated that the May 17th agreement reveals the exciting reality of a new geopolitical landscape in which the countries of the global South are now beginning to act as subjects, and no longer content to be mere objects in scenarios devised in the North. At some point this reality might well be christened as the ‘real new world order’!

About the Author: Richard Falk is a Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law & Practice Emeritus, Princeton University. (since 2002) Visiting and Research Professor, Global Studies, UCSB .Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories, UN Human Rights Council

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