Israeli Aggression against Palestinian might develop into new intifada’

‘New wave of Israeli-Palestinian tension might develop into new intifada’

A Palestinian woman covers her face as a stun grenade fired by Israeli police explodes nearby during clashes after Friday prayers at a compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

A Palestinian woman covers her face as a stun grenade fired by Israeli police explodes nearby during clashes after Friday prayers at a compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

The conflict between Israel and Palestine might end up in a new intifada if Israel doesn’t stop its provocation by closing Palestinian holy places and continuing its settlement policy, Dr. Ghassan Khatib from Birzeit University told RT.

Tension between the Israelis and Palestinians has been growing in recent weeks. Tonight a mosque has been set on fire on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Locals blame extremist Israeli settlers, adding that the same kind of accident happened two years ago in the same area.

The arson at the mosque was preceded by the stabbing of an Israeli woman and an IDF soldier on November 10, and the killing of a Palestinian man by the Israeli soldiers the day after. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised to demolish the houses of the Palestinians who allegedly carried out the deadly attacks.

Dr. Curtis Doebbler, peace activist, international human rights lawyer on Israeli- Palestinian conflict: “There’s violence on both sides, but I would suggest particularly the Israeli side, is increasing. There have been numerous attacks on particularly religious sites. Almost 3 dozen of them this year, and that is quite an intensive increase over the three we had in 2008 and ten we had in 2009. We had almost a hundred in the last three years, and this certainly enflames tempers in that part of the world.”

A previous wave of escalation took place on October 30 when Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque without any reason, which was called by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a “declaration of war.”

Abbas has also warned Israel to stay away from Al-Aqsa and has accused it of “leading the region and the world to a destructive religious war.”

READ MORE: Abbas warns Israel of religious war amid mosque row

Dr. Ghassan Khatib from Birzeit University in Palestine told RT that the policy pursued by Israeli officials is “the wrong recipe,”which “has been tried all the time by the Israeli occupation forces but it only, fueled further the already tense situation and relations between the Palestinian people and their occupiers.”

“Actually this wave of violence and protests came in particular as a response to Israeli attempts to allow Jewish extremists and settlers to enter the Palestinian Al Haram Sharif mosque and Israeli attempts to change the status quo in some of the Islamic holy places in East Jerusalem,” Khatib explains.

An Israeli border policeman runs during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers following a protest against what organizers say are recent visits by Jewish activists to al-Aqsa mosque, at Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 7, 2014 (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

An Israeli border policeman runs during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers following a protest against what organizers say are recent visits by Jewish activists to al-Aqsa mosque, at Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 7, 2014 (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

He claims the tension could be calmed down if Israel abandons its rhetoric of illegal changes and settlement expansion. At the same time he warns that “reacting to these illegitimate ways of violence by violence is a wrong approach,” and any hasty actions or reactions could lead to a new intifada.

“If it is handled wisely by the Israeli occupation authorities, it might calm down. Number one, we need Israel to stop the attempts of the Jewish extremists to change the status quo in the Islamic holy places. Number two, Israel should refrain from violent reactions that can bring down the growing tension. But if Israel insists on these attempts to change the status quo in holy places and continue to react violently, continue to allow extreme Jewish settlers to exert violence against Palestinian villagers. Then it might develop into another intifada,” Ghassan Khatib told RT.

READ MORE: Israeli settlers ‘set fire’ to West Bank mosque

Palestinian politician and activist Mustafa al-Barghouti describes the current situation as apartheid of the Palestinians.

“More and more Palestinians see that there is a system of apartheid and discrimination that is affecting them,” he said.

Al-Barghouti argues that closing of Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount has nothing to do with the security problem as the Palestinians turned out to be the only ones who are prohibited from entering the holy site.

“I’m sure Israel cares about the security of Jewish people more than they do about Palestinians. Yet they are not preventing any Jewish people from going to the Temple Mount, on the contrary, they facilitate their access, while they are restricting Palestinians from entering their own mosque [Al-Aqsa] and allowing Israeli illegal and extreme elements to enter the mosque under the protection of the Israeli army and provoke the Palestinians there. In reality we are talking about double standard, a discriminatory system,”he told RT.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Palestinians look at burnt tires inside a mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, near Nablus September 5, 2011 (Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Palestinians look at burnt tires inside a mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, near Nablus September 5, 2011 (Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini)

The underlying reason for the violence, according to Mustafa al-Barghouti, is the occupation of Palestine by Israel. He argues that the situation won’t change for the better till the occupation is over, which is to happen one day.

“The problem and core of these violent actions on any side is the fact that Palestine is under Israeli occupation. Everybody says the occupation has to end, everybody says that Israel is conducting illegal settlements there, yet Israel is not changing its policy. As long as there is an occupation, there will be a cause of tension and a cause of problems in the region,” Mustafa al-Barghouti told RT.

Ghassan Khatib shares the same point of view, adding that resolution of the conflict requires interference from outside.

“Most probably we will see further actions and reactions that will cause more and more deterioration. The only way out is interference from outside. If the big friend of Israel, the US, interferes and convinces Israel, and they can if they want, then probably we’ll see other results,” he said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Mustafa Barghouti on Operation Protective Edge

by Stephen Lendman

Barghouti is special. He’s important. He’s multi-faceted. He’s a man for all seasons. He’s a physician, political activist, and human rights champion.

He supports nonviolent resistance. He’s a Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) co-founder. He currently serves as secretary-general.

PNI aims to build Palestinian unity. It does so in struggling for self-determination. It does it by promoting democratic values.

Barghouti is a Palestinian Legislative Council/PLO member. He’s a former presidential candidate. Israel rigged Abbas’ 2005 election to deny him.

He was harassed while campaigning. He was intimidated. He was arrested. He was expelled from East Jerusalem.

He was excluded from Nablus and Gaza. He was prevented from  competing fairly against Israel’s preferred choice.

Israel rigged things for Abbas. He lacked legitimacy from day one in office. He has none now.

Barghouti is genuine. He’s polar opposite Abbas. He’s a grassroots democracy advocate.

He’s president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committee. It provides health and community services for over one million Palestinians annually.

He heads the Health Department Information and Policy Institute. It’s a Ramallah-based think tank. It specializes in policy research and planing for the Palestinian healthcare system.

He co-founded the Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People. He formerly served as Palestinian People’s Party general-secretary.

He’s an Oxford Research Group associate. It’s dedicated to developing effective methods for positive change on security issues through non-violent means.

Barghouti is well-known. He enjoys worldwide respect. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire nominated him for the 2010 award.

She was “inspired by the life and work of Dr. Barghouti whose commitment to nonviolence, in his personal and public life, is truly in the Ghandian spirit.”

Honoring Barghouti “would be a recognition of not only his great spirit of peace and nonviolence, but also the Palestinian Nonviolent Movement, which gives us all hope for the future of Palestine, Israel and the Middle East Community,” she explained.

Britain’s parliament passed a motion. It paid tribute to his nomination.

It cited his “invaluable role…in organizing and encouraging Palestinian civil society in the fundamental principles of non-violence.”

It acknowledged “the tirelessness of his activities in the face of so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles that face all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation whether that be in the West Bank or imprisoned in Gaza.”

In 2010, France awarded Barghouti its Legion of Honor (Legion d’Honneur). Napoleon established it in May 1802.

It was the first modern-day order of merit. It’s France’s highest honor. It’s awarded for excellent civil or military service.

Throughout Operation Protective Edge (OPE), Barghouti debunked the official narrative.

He denounced Israeli high crimes. He separated myths from reality.

War didn’t start in Gaza, he said. It began in the West Bank. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets.  

Israel bears full responsibility. It does so for state-sponsored terrorism.

The dominant narrative called it self-defense. Justifiable Palestinian resistance is called terrorism.

During OPE, Israel rampaged throughout the territories. It did so multiple times daily.

It terrorized West Bank/East Jerusalem communities. It invaded over 3,000 homes.

It ransacked them. It destroyed many. It stole money and other personal possessions.

It used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and live fire against peaceful Palestinian demonstrators.

It arrested over 1,000 Palestinians. They included parliamentarians doing their jobs.

Nearly three dozens are lawlessly imprisoned. They languish in Israel’s gulag. Conditions are brutal.

Torture is official Israeli policy. Horrific abuses are commonplace.

OPE was much more than war on Hamas. It was war on Palestine. It was collective punishment writ large.

Dozens of families were annihilated to the last man, woman and child.

“Entire neighborhoods…were completely eliminated within 24 hours,” said Barghouti.

Eight hospitals were attacked. So were clinics, ambulances and healthcare workers. Palestinian journalists were murdered in cold blood.

Obama and other world leaders ignored Israeli aggression. They defended its right to mass murder and destroy.

“(N)ot a single word” supported Palestinians’ right of self-defense, said Barghouti.

“The Palestinians are the ones whose land has been occupied for 47  years, who have been forced into displacement and refugee status since 1948, (and who suffer) from a system of apartheid, discrimination and segregation created by the Israeli occupation.”

Yet nothing is said in their behalf. Reality is turned on its head.

Israeli suffering is considered unique. Extreme Palestinian misery is ignored.

They dehumanized. Their lives and well-being aren’t important. They faced the world’s fourth most powerful army.

They did so with light arms and ineffective rockets. Israeli began OPE. It did so lawlessly.

Palestinians were victimized. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

Instigators are called victims. Real ones are called perpetrators and terrorists.

Civilians suffer most in all wars. Palestinians suffer under the longest occupation in modern memory.

Palestine’s longstanding struggle affects Israel, said Barghouti. “Israelis will never be free as long as we are not free,” he stresses.

What’s been ongoing for decades must stop, he says. “(I)mpunity and reality must be exposed.”

Enough is enough! No longer can longstanding injustice continue. Things must change. The official Israeli narrative must be challenged.

“Please see the reality,” says Barghouti. “Look at the facts.”

Truths must replace fiction. Peace, equity, and justice can’t wait.

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) champions Palestinian peace and stability. It deplores militarism, war and other forms of violence.

It calls human rights laws inviolable. It wants violators held accountable.

On September 9, Barghouti addressed PSC members. He did so in London. He discussed what he saw and experienced in Gaza.

“Thank you for everything you have done for Palestine and Gaza,” he said.

“We have been watching the demonstrations. What you have done has given the people a great amount of moral support and I hope you can continue with this, because it is very important.”

“(S)olidarity work” is vital, he stressed. “(W)e have a very, very big fight ahead of us.”

No one can comprehend what happened without living it.

“No footage, no speech, no camera, no television can really show the reality that you can see with your own eyes,” he said.

“Please go there if you can. It’s so important for you to know the reality, and (vital) for (Gazans) to see you there.”

“What happened is beyond description. Even describing it as an act of disproportionality is an insult to humanity. Describing it as an imbalance of power is also an insult.”

“After slaughtering thousands of people and destroying thousands of homes and to speak about reconstruction and to immediately allow Israeli companies to make a profit from this is also an insult to humanity.”

“What happened in Gaza, as has happened before in the West Bank is nothing but war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“What happened was nothing but massacres against the civilian population and Israel couldn’t have done that without a feeling of impunity and without having impunity from international law, and this couldn’t have happened if so many Western world leaders hadn’t been complicit in what happened.”

They support Israeli genocidal high crimes against peace. They ignore Palestinian suffering.

They do virtually nothing to relieve it. They let business as usual continue. Status quo conditions remain.

After endless days of meaningless discussions, Barghouti expressed disgust with “diplomatic talk.”

He showed pictures of what he saw. It exceeded some of the worst WW II devastated areas in some places, he said.

“This was not about one house being destroyed and the house next to it being destroyed,” he explained.

“This was intentional bombardment by the Israeli army and navy and air force to destroy whole neighborhoods.”

Shujaya was completely destroyed. “It was a town. It was was a city with 150,000 people…”

“Every house, every clinic, every mosque, every building was destroyed.”

“Even a home for people with disabilities was destroyed. The destruction was beyond belief, and it is there for people who want to see.”

“Huge buildings, of five, six, seven, eight storeys were completely destroyed.”

“I have never seen even in films such a level of devastation. I saw one bomb which caused a half a square kilometer hole in the ground.”

The toll throughout Gaza was horrific, said Barghouti. It was devastating. It’s catastrophic. It includes:

“18,000 homes and buildings destroyed completely, 41,000 houses partially damaged, 145 schools, eight hospitals, 13 health centers damaged.”

“180 mosques damaged, 71 destroyed completely. Even cemeteries were bombarded, 10 bombarded, nine Muslim cemeteries, one Christian cemetery.”

“They bombarded the graves.” The bones of the dead became visible. “The amount of explosives they used was beyond description.”

Tens of thousands of Gazans lost virtually everything. Their homes, belongings, money, papers, photos, passports, and memories unable to “be brought back even if there is reconstruction.”

“That is what (Israel) did to people.” It “insult(ed) humanity.” It mass  murdered Palestinians in cold blood.

Nearly half million Gazans lost their homes and personal possessions. Their loved ones are lost forever. Many still live in shelters. “In huge numbers.”

“I almost cried when I was asked to see a girl in one of these shelters.”

“She has cancer which has taken away her sight and she was half paralyzed. Her mother was with her also.”

“She had to be inside the room with 50 other people. Very hot, very humid, no showers, no clean water.”

That’s what happened to these people when they went into these shelters.”

“We found evidence of scabies, and gastroenteritis and hepatitis.”

“Some people decided to live in the rubble rather than in the shelters, because it was so humiliating to live without any privacy.”

“Sometimes they still find people who are dead under the destruction.”

“Towers, high rises, they were all destroyed. Huge devastation.”

“This building hosted 80 families. In two minutes, it was destroyed.”

“There was a man, 82 years old, who told me he spent all his life building a house and a family.”

“He had a house with four storys and 28 sons and daughters and grandchildren.”

“He went to pray during Ramadan, one evening. He came back. The house was completely destroyed, his wife was killed.”

“All the 28 sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters were killed.”

“91 families were completely annihilated. 91 families were scratched from the civil records in these attacks.”

If Gaza’s population matched America’s, “you(‘d) (have had) 400,000 killed and 1,934,000 injured, almost two million.”

“(H)ow can a country that claims to be…civilized…that has a very special relationship with the United Kingdom, that keeps speaking about the right to defend itself, ask them, how can they be allowed to” commit mass murder and destruction with impunity.

Shrapnel from its explosives cut everything. It’s “all over the place.”

“It includes very dangerous material. Tungsten and other material that is carcinogenic, and depleted uranium.”

UN safe haven refugees were willfully attacked. Israel blamed Hamas for its own crimes.

It used prohibited weapons. They included “(d)ime bombs, tungsten, depleted uranium,” white phosphorous that burns skin to the bone, flechettes and others.

Israel wanted maximum destruction, deaths and injuries. Civilians were willfully targeted. It’s official Israeli policy.

IDF attacks “destroyed water networks, sewage systems,” said Barghouti. “They destroyed the only electricity station in Gaza.”

“And they created epidemics. Up until now, in the best case scenario, people in Gaza have electricity for only six hours a day.”

“What would you do if you could not have showers every day because the water is so saline?”

“What would you do in a place where 90% of water sources are polluted and salinated, and not good for human use?”

“The devastation is unbelievable. They attacked 36 ambulances. They killed 22 first aid and health providers. They devastated eight hospitals.”

“They killed 18 journalists and attacked seven UNWRA schools. They killed five people in Shifa hospital.”

“Two disabled women were killed in a disabled centre. 450 factories were destroyed. Farms were destroyed.”

“Today there is no meat in Gaza, because all the sheep were killed in the attacks.”

“The soil is so covered in chemicals that it’s not good for human use, for farming.”

“Israel attacked Gaza in 2006, in 2008, in 2013 and in 2014. In 2014, there was one hundred times more destruction and more explosives than in all three previous wars.”

“Why? Because they are testing the world. They are testing you. They are testing every single person in humanity to see how much you can tolerate.”

“This is what the fascists did before. The fascists tested humanity to see how much it would resist and now it is time to resist Israel.”

Fascism grips Israel. Democracy is pure fantasy. Palestinians have no rights.

Gazans face slow-motion genocide. An entire population is up for grabs. World leaders able to make a difference do nothing. They support Israel’s killing machine.

Israel “tried to dehumanize us as Palestinians,” said Barghouti. “First they tried to dehumanize Hamas, then all Palestinians. Netanyahu even has the guts to try and compare Hamas with ISIS.”

It’s totally unacceptable to let Israel claim self-defense. “This is not self-defense,” said Barghouti. “This is offense.”

“Israel shouldn’t be allowed this level of impunity. Enough is enough. We have to take them to the International Criminal Court. The PLO must immediately sign the Rome Statute and take Israel to the ICC.”

“(T)his inhumanity can’t continue. There’s only one way out.” Boycott, divest, sanction, isolate and prosecute Israeli officials for high crimes against peace.

“(D)ismantle this occupation and this apartheid” once and for all. Afford Palestinians justice they’ve long been denied.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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

posted by Steve Lendman @ 3:25 AM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Activists In Bab Al Shams / And Now You Can Dance

48 hours in Bab AlShams

The US is shelling Syria with chemical weapons and Obama is being received in Israel with great ceremony and the security of Israel is on top of the list and with it the so called Iranian threat and the weapons of Hizbullah and the nuclear or chemical weapons that Syria possesses . As for the Palestinian issue it would have to wait for unity between factions . All this while Palestinian activists are dancing in Bab al Shams . Palestinians have resumed their activity thinking that by dancing in Bab al Shams with Mustapha al Barghouthi they will protect themselves from nuclear and chemical weapons and retrieve Palestinian rights and liberate Jerusalem . For these reasons, the popular Resistance -as they are called- have prepared themselves to receive president Obama by raising few tents again in Bab al Shams and gathering few activists dressed in Palestinian garbs to the place whose name was inspired from Damascus itself since it the name of one of the several doors that leads to it . Great achievement to face the great challenges plaguing the Arab Nation and the hundreds of nuclear weapons that Israel has been hording while speaking eloquently about peace.
There, in Bab al Shams , the activists will cook and eat and sing while Netenyahu and Peres decide- together with Obama -for the next step to take and the next massacre to be committed and decide for the next measure after the Arab Spring , the sectarian war and the assault on Syria liable to liquidate the Palestinian Cause. The thing is that activists of the so called Popular Palestinian Resistance have also been given their share in liquidating the cause and are faring pretty well in this . In these unfortunate days when Palestinians are not going for a ride in Apartheid land and when they are not dancing to the Israeli tunes in Bab al Shams or Bab al Rahma and when they are not siding with Qatar and Turkey for sectarian reasons then they are fighting with the sectarian thugs of the opposition in Syria . These are not the best days Palestine is going through.
We call upon the Palestinians to wake up from this sectarian dream we call on them to join their brothers the Syrian and Lebanese freedom fighters and their Iranian brothers in the battle to free Palestine. We call upon them to join the fighters to ward off their common enemy . Any sectarian position taken by the Palestinians means the forsaking of Palestine and joining of the adverse camp . Have we reached the point where we need to free Palestine from Palestinians?

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

BDS Against George Galloway

By Gilad Atzmon
With BDS, it’s never boring. Although formed initially to mount pressure on Israel, increasingly BDS campaigns are now, bit by bit, focusing on silencing any pro-Palestinian voice with an IQ over 90. For the BDS leadership, intellect is a threat – and they may be right.

For a year now, we have noted BDS’ repeated assaults on leading activists and intellects such as Ken O’Keefe, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, Alison Weir, Greta Berlin, Daniel Barenboim, yours truly and many others. But this weekend, the BDS found a new potential punch-bag: British MP George Galloway.

On Wednesday, MP Galloway walked out of a debate at Christ Church, Oxford.  Galloway was upset to find that he was about to be in debate with an Israeli. “I was misinformed” he said. “I don’t debate with Israelis. I don’t recognise Israel.” Galloway later wrote on Twitter “No recognition, No normalisation. Just Boycott, divestment, sanctions.”

Now surely, Galloway’s reaction, though impulsive, must be accepted or at least understood by Palestinians and their advocates. Not so, it seems. The ‘Jews in the movement’ were really distressed, so much so that Israeli BDS enthusiast Rachel Shabi confirmed on The Guardian yesterday that the BDS national committee was quick ‘to issue a statement’ to disassociate itself from Galloway’s attitude. It looks like the BDS Committee in Ramallah has, once again, had to bow to its paymasters.
On The Telegraph Toby Young  maintained the exact same line. “Following George Galloway’s dramatic exit from an Oxford University debate” Young wrote,  A leading Palestinian organisation (BDS) has issued a press release saying it doesn’t  condone boycotting individuals.” Young concludes, “It seems the Respect MP hasn’t simply lost the respect of his political opponents after his antics at the Oxford debate. He’s losing the respect of his political allies, too.” Somebody in Ramallah better advise us why did BDS joined the  Hasbara campaign against MP Galloway. Seemingly in the BDS committee they are yet to grasp the notion of solidarity.

The BDS statement, brilliantly original as ever, reads as follows:
“The global BDS movement has consistently adopted a rights-based approach and an anti-racist platform that rejects all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”

Pretty impressive. Anti-racism is certainly important except that Galloway did not once refer to Jews or to race. He referred to Israel and refused to debate an Israeli national. Now, I happen to think that Galloway was wrong but still, his decision, a purely political one, was entirely legitimate.
Interestingly, BDS leader Omar Barghouti is not exactly himself much of an anti-racist. In fact, it has amply demonstrated what a banal, racist mind he has. Recall how last year Barghouti was caught on video exploring some extremely vile, racist, biological determinist terminology when this essentially banal mind launched an attack on the White race.

For a while, Barghouti’s open racism bewildered me but I then realised that this Palestinian petty Marxist probably fell asleep during the relevant lesson and missed the most important bit. Israel is not South Africa and it is not the ‘White State’ or the ‘White man’ who plunders Palestine, it is actually the ‘Jewish state.’

In her Guardian article, Israeli Rachel Shabi explained in the clearest of terms why she has a problem with Galloway. “One reason that many left-leaning Jews don’t join the BDS movement is precisely because the boycott is perceived to be about rage against people, rather than an effective political tool.” There you go, plain and clear, according to Shabi BDS is there to appease the ‘Left-leaning Jews’. It is not about Palestine or the Palestinians, not even about justice or universalism, it is just a ‘political tool’. In fact, this clumsy statement by Shabi may explain why more and more of us regard the BDS, in its current form, as nothing short of a ‘controlled opposition’ dominated by Jewish tribal interests. (According to some Israeli sources, it is also largely funded by liberal Zionist George Soros’ Open Society.)

But here are some critical questions for the BDS Committee, Shabi and Soros. Do you really want to form a totalitarian movement dominated by an intellectually lame ‘big brother’ that will tell us exactly what we may talk about and how we may express ourselves? Do you really want to turn Palestine into a synagogue and the solidarity movement into a yeshiva? Does the prospect of intellectual and spiritual freedom not appeal to you? After decades of abuse, don’t the Palestinian people deserve freedom?

Let me be clear. I believe that BDS is a force for good but BDS leadership had better reflect a little and start to focus on the real enemies of justice and of Palestine rather than harassing the most dedicated voices in this discourse.

But still, one question is still unresolved. Almost a year ago we discovered that BDS had compromised the most fundamental of Palestinian rights: the Right of Return. In an entirely underhand way the BDS National Committee had changed the wording of its mission statement from demanding that Israel ends

Its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands (http://www.bdsmovement.net/call)
to
Its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 (http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro)

BDS made this change without alerting its affiliated organization. In fact an Israeli BDS activist confirmed to me that the change was made to appease the ‘Jews in the movement’. However, in spite of the wide publicising of this strange conduct by BDS, the organisation has, to date, failed to clarify its position. For more than 8 months since this crucial question was raised, BDS remains silent – but it took the BDS Committee in Ramallah less than five hours to react to Galloway and to disassociate itself from him.

The message is clear. BDS, in its current form, is an occupied territory. If it wants to save itself, (and I hope it does), it must be de-Zionised – and immediately. If it fails to do this, it will be remembered as possibly the most repugnantly treacherous chapter in the history of the Palestinian struggle. And this is indeed painful and tragic.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – March 2012

April 18, 2012
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for March, 2012 is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. The well-known public activist, former candidate for the presidencylogo of the collaborationist Palestinian National Authority, and head of the Palestine National Initiative earned the prestigious ikhras shoe award by traveling from occupied Ramallah to Washington, DC to attend J Street’s 2012 annual gala.
Since its establishment in 2008 this racist, Zionist organization dedicated to the destruction of Palestine has sought to present itself as the pro-peace faction of the pro-Israel lobby hoping to distinguish itself from its only slightly more obnoxious colleagues at AIPAC.
To advance the pernicious notion that the two are not mutually exclusive, J Street describes itself as both “Pro-Israel and pro-Peace.” To the uninitiated political simpletons J Street may come across as a more humane version of Zionism, but upon closer examination of its substantive policy positions it is virtually indistinguishable from other elements of the pro-Israel lobby.
J Street makes clear its goal is to defend Israel, preserve the racist, colonial project in Palestine, and lobby the US government to maintain unlimited military, economic, and political support for an exclusivist Jewish state. It advocates for maintaining Israel’s technological and military superiority over all states in the region and calls on others to recognize the “right” of members of the Jewish faith from all over the world to colonize Palestine while opposing the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, land, and property. To that end it has adopted a deceptively moderate tone and paid lip service to the “two-state solution” canard.
J Street is not driven by any moral considerations, a search for a just peace, liberalism, or universal human values. Instead, it remains dedicated to the same racist, colonial enterprise all other pro-Israel groups are committed to. As far as J Street is concerned support for a non-contiguous, demilitarized, and defenseless mini-state-in-name-only in occupied Palestine 67 is the best policy to ensure the long-term survival of the Zionist project. It differs from AIPAC in that it believes Israel can survive in the 78% of Palestine occupied in 1948 only if it accepts the repositioning of the Israeli occupation army around the 22% of occupied Palestine 67 and allows the Palestinians to refer to it as a state.
The differences between J Street and AIPAC amount to a minor disagreement over the extent of the repositioning of the Israeli occupation army around occupied Palestine 67 and the tone and propaganda strategy that best serves the mutually agreed upon and expressly stated objectives of both lobbying groups. The differences are not unlike what distinguishes the Likud from Kadima or the Labor party.

Although J Street does not offer a vision for a just peace – which any rational, unbiased, and moral observer recognizes would require Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied Arab land followed by the dismantlement of the colonial Zionist state, the return of the Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of a single unified Palestine – it does offer liberal Jewish-American Zionists an opportunity to feel better about their commitment to Israel while promoting an agenda that is identical to the one supported by the ostensibly more extreme, right-wing members of the pro-Israel lobby.


Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – October 2011



J Street appearance on the scene has also offered a small contingent of establishment Arab-Americans the opportunity to play the role of the “reasonable” and “peace-loving” Arab eager to distinguish him/herself from the stereotypical anti-Semitic, violent, extremist Arab that wants to “drive the Jews into the sea.” Self-appointed Arab-American spokespersons like James Zogby or Ray Hanania have relished every opportunity to appear with members of J Street, interview any of its leaders, or attend their events and galas.
Israel Normalizer Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahawy: Selected Quotes On Palestine & Israel
 Zogby actively promotes J Street and Jeremy Ben Ami is a regular on his vapid weekly talk show on Abu-Dhabi (or as Jim says “Abew-Dobby”) TV. Hanania attended last year’s J Street conference spending his entire time there tweeting praise for the racist gathering hoping to be invited back as a speaker this year.
Colonial feminist and a proud normalizer with Israel, Egyptian-American corporate media darling Mona Eltahawy also attended last year’s J Street gathering and received a thunderous ovation. For these establishment Arab-Americans attending a J Street event or being seen with a Jewish supporter of Israel is an affirmation of their humanity and provides evidence that despite belonging to a suspect group they’re really one of “the good ones.”

We expect the likes of Zogby, Hanania, and Eltahawy to clamor for a photo-op with a “pro-peace” J Streeter or an appearance at a J Street event, and while their participation is disgraceful, we can readily (should we choose to do so) disregard that unrepresentative, tiny minority of establishment Arab-Americans, most of whom have no connection to the Arab world, and their American-style buffoonery. However, when a well-known, Palestinian public figure residing in occupied Ramallah travels to Washington to participate in an event for the pro-Israel lobby, it becomes entirely something else that can’t be so easily dismissed. This is not the first time Barghouti has visited the US to engage in a series of misguided public relations stunts. During a previous visit in 2009, Barghouti traveled around in the company of a Jewish-American, female “peace activist” which included an awkward appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It was a strange performance for Barghouti who was visibly strained to send the message that a Palestinian can sit side by side with a Jewish person from which the audience was supposed to extrapolate that Palestinians are indeed human beings who can exist with other human beings of a different religious persuasion. He’s also written editorials in mainstream US print media which almost always sound apologetic and desperate to prove the humanity and peaceful nature of the Palestinians to an American audience. Here is the most recent one in the NY Times in which Barghouti preaches non-violence, as if the Palestinians, the victims of massive violence for over six decades, have an obligation to prove to a Western audience that they are a peaceful people.

In addition to the false notion that J Street is any different than AIPAC, Barghouti’s amateurish public relations efforts proceed from a couple of other false assumptions and misunderstandings of American politics. Barghouti travels to Washington with the belief the US government remains the key to “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.
After decades of unlimited, unconditional support for Israel, and the sacred status Israel continues to hold within the American political and electoral system, any entertainment of the idea the US can play a constructive role in reaching a “peaceful settlement” between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab world is completely detached from reality and utterly preposterous.
The US government is part of the conflict, and not part of any “solution” and remains the sponsor and protector of Israel’s colonial occupation, an accomplice in all of its crimes, and the single greatest obstacle to peace in the region. It is time to dispense with the obvious lie that the US government is an honest peace broker or interested in anything other than preserving Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its role as a garrison state in the service of imperialism and American domination of the Arab world.

Barghouti’s decision to come to Washington and attend a J Street event is part of a strategy based on several layers of misunderstanding and confusion. Barghouti’s approach betrays a simplistic understanding of US foreign policy that focuses solely on the pro-Israel lobby while ignoring other critical determinants beyond the scope of this piece. Furthermore, Barghouti’s confusion regarding J Street’s alleged support for a just peace is further compounded by his seeming exaggeration of that potentially “positive” influence on US foreign policy towards Arab-Israeli conflict.

The naiveté shown in Barghouti’s approach becomes even more glaring when he presumes any Palestinian support of the “moderate” member of the pro-Israel lobby will help strengthen its influence at the expense of AIPAC. In reality this discussion is between two groups within the pro-Israel lobby about the best way to preserve the Zionist project and ensure the survival of Israel. Palestinian support for either faction in the discussion will have no impact and is ultimately irrelevant. Finally, and most importantly, it is not the role or responsibility of any member of a colonized and occupied people to offer his imprimatur to the ostensibly more moderate faction of the colonizers and occupiers, and if Barghouthi insists on a strategy of reaching out to the mythical pro-peace Zionists, he’s better off saving his air fare and participating in the conferences and conventions of Kadima or the Labor party in occupied Palestine which is what J Street represents here in the US.

Barghouti’s political pilgrimage to J Street was an example of unprincipled, misguided, and foolish antics and an amateurish experiment in public relations that will not serve or help the Palestinian people. His participation in this event, which featured war criminal and butcher Ehud Olmert as an honored guest, was also unconscionable. Olmert was the Prime Minister of the Zionist entity during the winter 2008-2009 slaughter in Gaza, and was responsible for the planning and execution of that massacre. That alone should merit Barghouti’s refusal to be involved in such an event.

Barghouti’s appearance at J Street did not and cannot achieve anything of value for the Palestinian people, but his latest trip to Washington was not entirely without any personal achievement. For his participation in the J Street gala, his strategy of empowering a racist, Zionist group in America so it may, at some point in the future, impact and change US foreign policy to the benefit of the Palestinians, and his willingness to appear at an event that honored the latest Israeli butcher of Gaza ikhras is pleased to present Dr. Mustafa Barghouti with the March 2012 Ikhras Shoe Of The Month.
***

Every month Ikhras awards the Muntadhar ZaidiShoe of the month” to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video).

The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at the war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism.
Contest guidelines prohibit any one individual or organization from winning the award more than 3 times a year.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Barghouthi: Pro-Palestinian activists have fulfilled purpose

[ 17/07/2011 – 10:49 AM ] 

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Palestinian MP Mustafa al-Barghouthi, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, said the international pro-Palestinian campaign achieved more than it set out to, despite measures Israel took to prevent them from landing in the occupied territories.
Barghouthi said in a statement to Quds Press that the measures still did not prevent hundreds of protesters from actually landing in the occupied Palestinian territories and demonstrating at checkpoints in Qalandia, Walaja, Bethlehem, Nabi Saleh and other areas in the West Bank.

Israel recently made far-reaching efforts to thwart the Freedom Flotilla II from breaching Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and delivering much needed aid. Israel also hiked security preventing hundreds of pro-Palestinians from flying in to protest in the occupied territories.

Israel incurred heavy losses preventing the activists’ arrival and turning the Ben-Gurion Airport into a military barracks, Barghouthi told Quds Press. It put itself into problems with all European states, as no one can accept anymore Israel’s exports and its suppression of freedom of expression.
Barghouthi, who was on board the Freedom Flotilla II, said the Greeks bitterly felt that they had been politically and economically extorted, as the country succumbed to Israeli pressure and banned the flotilla’s ships from departing from its ports.
In the interview, Barghouthi also addressed American and European efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
He asserted that the US pressure on the Palestinians has been ongoing and actually increased recently. He cited the Congress’s decision to boycott the Palestinian Authority should it follow through with steps towards national unity or unilaterally seeking statehood from the United Nations.
Barghouthi went on to say that it was actually Israel that closed the door to negotiations, with the conduct of Netanyahu’s government. He questioned, how can the Palestinians sit at the negotiations table when the number of illegal settlers has risen a hundred percent since the signing of the Oslo Accords.

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Palestinian MP warns peace talks with Israel will ‘liquidate’ Palestinian cause

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[ 03/10/2010 – 10:34 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– MP Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, said Israel is using the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority as a cover to “liquidate” the rights of the Palestinians.

“The unruliness of settlers and construction operations happening now in Palestinian lands confirm that the current negotiations are being used by Israel as a cover for the Israeli judaization and annexation operation, an operation to consecrate the apartheid regime and liquidate the rights of the Palestinian people,” Barghouthi said.

The MP warned in a statement on Saturday of dangers of continued peace talks in light of ongoing settlement activity. He added that there is great danger in excluding Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank in the settlement freeze.

“The alleged freeze and all the proposed solutions in this regard exclude Jerusalem from the freeze, meaning a new reality in which Jerusalem is cut off from the rest of the Palestinian lands and the desired Palestinian state,” he added.

“Unless we place real pressure on Israel to abide by international law and stop it from the longest occupation in modern history, the cycle of conflict will remain constant in the region,” Barghouthi concluded.

National bureau for lands: Settlement activities reported during alleged freeze

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