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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

HAMAS Rocket Attacks Are Justified

Some Israel sympathizers have written a letter to Malaysiakini justifying the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Their main justification is that is is a direct response to HAMAS rocket attacks into Israel. But, as usual with Israeli sympathizers, they chose not to highlight the entire story.

The entire rocket attacks is meant to respond to the total blockade of a free and sovereign entity of Gaza. A total blockade of any nation is an act of war and thus must be accorded with acts of aggrression.

HAMAS has actually accepted an Egypt peace plans and declared truce with Israel last summer. But the entire peace process is a total shenanigan and the blockade of Gaza remains. HAMAS was made to appear like a fool.

So, they decided to unblock GAZA so that the people of Gaza can operate freely like normal human beings.

America being a hypocrite they are kept raising the rocket attacks issue while totally being silent on the total economic blockade of Gaza.

The rocket attacks will stop if the unlawful and illegal blockade of Gaza is lifted. Palestinians democratic rights must be respected. They voted HAMAS and let HAMAS rule naturally. If any, the Palestinians themselves will remove HAMAS is they do not perform accordingly.

We all MUST do our part starting with total boycott of American products. As many as possible.

Tulang Besi
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  1. Tulang Besi as a non muslim, i do empathise with the plight in Gaza. As much as I accept the intial arguments of israel that no country will tolerate rocket attacks against it.

    Imagine if Thailand launched rocket attacks on terranganu will you say okay, lets do nothing. However beyond that the actions of Israel is overboard. Obama should step in and force Israel to stop. I hate to see the children, 750 000of them suffer like this.

    However instead of trying to reduce the casulties, Hamas is using the children killed as propaganda and a doctor telling the child that you are scarificing yourself for Jihad in a tv broadcast. This is rubbish. All it does is exploiting the situation for its own benifits.

    This is the problem with the Arab world. If the leaders have the balls they would redo the oil embargo or cut supplies like Russia. However Israel is the only democracy on the middle east. The rest are american backed up Sunni dictatorships. Would you allow a minority to rule Malaysia?

    Even in Israel there is opposition to the attacks because its a democracy. Most palestinians and israelis just want to live in peace. Please let them do. If you really feel for their cause I dare you go and volunteer and fight. Palestinians should build their economic base.


  2. Basically, as a human being (not beast) i do not agree with war and violence.

    I also do not agree that holy texts should contain or mixed any elements of war or violence, even for self-defence, which should be dealt by politics.

    Since i do not agree with war and i do not have all the facts, I would not support either Israel or Hamas actions.

    On the basis of general human principles and regardless of who is right or wrong, imo, HAMAS is stupid and reckless to provoke another party which is more powerful than what they are.

    Even if HAMAS is 100% right, they should not have fired rockets (which turned out to be ineffective) into Israels. But their stupid rash actions had put their own citizens lives at stake. They are dumb not to understand that any insecured nation (e.g. Israel) will retaliate when provoked especially when it know it is more powerful than the provocateur.

    I am sure a any normal person will understand that one is asking for it when one (untrained) provoked in threatening Mike Tyson (in his prime) live in a dark street corner.

    HAMAS (being natural the weaker party) must be patient and seek all means to negotiate and not be rash and risk the lives of their citizen to another bigger beast than themselves.

    The root cause is actually at times, holy texts can mistakenly give their believers false confidence and arrogance, as they believe that they are backed by a all-powerful-being that never came to their rescue.


  3. Imagine if Thailand launched rocket attacks on terranganu will you say okay, lets do nothing.

    It's justified if Malaysia had blocked Thailand completely from the outside world like the how the Israelis are doing to Gaza

    Otherwise, it will be deemed as an act of war on the part of Thailand.

  4. Same guy as before. Southern Thais are Malays, yet you do nothing to help them. Anyway I do not agree with Israel and I argue with people who say at least this is a way to hit those guys. I argue with my father over this.

    Infact when he tries to justify Israel action, i tell him that look Israel is smart they kill the children who one day are throwing stones at them and in the future become sucide bombers. So I tell him its good they kill children. My father realise my scacarsim and he keeps quiet.

    Hamas is wrong in whats its doing but its the democracticly elected representive of Gaza. If you meet a jewish person and their likely to be your friend then enemy. Just like the extremist in Islam who spoil the name of Islam, there are jews namely Zionist who spoil the name and jews and use the holacuast as a rallying point.

    If Israel lose the six nation war, people would have pittied them. However they won. Israel must accept that they are part of the arab world and vice versa. Israel was formed from the aftermath of the world war.

    Many people do not realise but, the zionist funded Hitler and the jews who help defeat the capatilist (yes the capatilist) the bolsheviks in Russia were many jews. These poeple were killed by the nazis.

    I hope you have as much pity on the Indians who were sent out of their plantations and beaten by the police as much as you have on the jews.

    Tulang besi, I have been reading your articles for some time and as a PAS canidate, I will definetely vote you in. Even when many non muslims were apprehensive to do so i encouraged them. However do remember the great leader Tengku Abdul Rahman sent back the Pakistanis back to Pakistan when they tried to collect money for the Indo Pakistan war in the 1960s.

    As much as we can feel for the people we should feel for the person next door too. Singapore's first leader was a bagdhad jew, David Marshall who gave up his power (yes a jew giving up power) because his people, the Malays, Chinese and Indians from Singapore would not getting indpendence from the British.

  5. I dont think the people of Palestine voted HAMAS so that they can act as aggressors. FATAH fell out of favour due to the perception of corruption and their US links.

    HAMAS is killing their own people. Blockades can be handles through negotiations, but if you fire rockets dont bet on getting invited for discussions over tea.

  6. Azrin,

    They tried negotiations for the last 6 months.

    While Gazans died from starvation, the blockade remained.

    They were given a choice. Die slowly out of starvation or die fighting

  7. Very interesting interview by Daryl
    Bradford Smith with Muhammad Rafeeq on 4th January 2009 diccusing about Gaza and zionist.

  8. Those who said Hamas breached anything and thus Isreal has the right to annihilate Palestinians are driven by sheer hatred, sheer stupidity or have consumed the vanished lies of the Zionists who control 96% of the world media in the 5 continents. Read Robert Fisk's take on the issue and who has violated the truce:


    What a load of crap.

    No jew, no war.

  10. stop making comparison like what if thailand fire rockets into malaysia

    malaysia and thailand are both sovereign countries with international border defined

    israel is the occupier of palestinians land and has yet to make it clear her international border

    Israel wants a quiet occupation like west bank where they built an illegal wall (so where are condemning voices then?)

    Hamas refuse to give them a quiet occupation, hence the rockets from Gaza. What else do we expect occupied people will do?

    And stop using things like look at malaysia first then only condemn israel. Why don't you stop talking about EPL until Malaysian football become kings of the world?

    Just because you hate BN and BN condemn Israel doesn't mean you have to side with Israel. What wrong is wrong.

  11. Azrin,

    these Jews killed their own prophets.

    See what chance do you have negotiate with them. Hamas not asking you to come over and fight for them. What they want is for all UN resolutions on Israel to be observed and not vetoed out by the US.

  12. Middle East 101: OCCUPATION.

    all these problems are because of Israeli occupation. Don't talk like stupid people. People don't fire rockets to the fourth strongest military in the world out of nothing. People just don't do it, unless they feel there is nothing for them in this world anymore. They got nothing. They believe that it is better to die for something rather than to live for nothing.

    Only loyal Jewish goyims would believe that Hamas fire rockets to the 4th strongest military in the world for leisure.

  13. Hamas fired rockets at Israels civilians as, what is the difference?

    What does Hamas hope to achieve by firing rockets at civilians in Israel? To force Israel to end the blockade?

    Hamas is not suffering...its the women and children of Palestine who are suffering most as direct consequences of their action...

    And where we when the palestines were suffering during the blockade? Why didnt we help them then. Why didnt we raise funds and send aid to them then..why did we wait until hundreds were killed?

  14. I am the same Anonymous of the 2 long post.
    Really pump prices in Singapore went up by 4 cents. Its RM3.57 for 92 in Singapore. 4 cents equal ten malaysian cents. No jew no economy. Learn to force the middle east to embrace democracy. Why do the aythollah has so much power in Iran.

    "What a load of crap.

    No jew, no war."

  15. "israel is the occupier of palestinians land and has yet to make it clear her international border"

    Malaysia occupies Sabah and Sarawak which have never been together till 1963. Even during the british times they were not united. Today Sabah and Sarawak are raped for the pleasure of penisular malaysia. The real bumiputra of penisular malaysia are Orang Asli, Orang Laut, how come a Bugis is becoming the next malaysian prime minister. Its not enough what his father did to tengku and malaysia.

    I do not like BN, but BN had great leaders like tengku and Jaffar Onn. I am a non muslim and non malay yet I have unshakeable respect of these great leders who left UMNO because of people who are in it then and are still in it now.

    You shed tears for the palestinians, yet you do not care for your fellow bumpiputras or so you claim whose resources you exploit.

    Filipino muslims have occupied Kadazan lands, yet no one here gives a damn. Again I tell you guys reform Malaysia first. Keep your backyard clean before you talk like you are angels.

    You do not realise the wrongs you are doing because you think they are your priveleges, yet you snarl at the jews when they do so.

    In middle east talk show by the BBC with 99% of the floor members being middle easterns, a prominent jewish polthinker said that jews also have to learn to live eventually as a minotity in Israel. I say this once and again its the radical jews using the holacoust and radical muslims using these grievance who do not like peaceful jews and arabs live happily.

  16. How would you like if India or China sent fighters to malaysia to organise attacks. Would you like it.

    Israel has gone overboard. Its wrong for her to do what she did. Hamas must also stp the rocket attacks. Sometimes though i am okay with PAS, I hold the same likeness to them with Hamas. PAS is much more morally and spirtually superior to UMNO but can they manage a country or state.

    Even Iran scraps through when OIl hits a peak. The scantions do cause a dent but like philipines religious zealots cannot run a country. By the way Oxy or Occidental, one of the world reasonably sized oil companies is headed by an Iranian. You should never chase the brains away.

  17. What happen in Malaysia got nothing to do with the Middle East terror. I sympathise with every oppressed people in the world. Just because some Muslims rape the people of this country doesn't mean we have to clap our hands when other Muslims in other country are slaughtered.

    Will the suffering of the Palestinians cure your pain that is caused by UMNO?

  18. Azrin,

    Israel civilians are IDF reservists, and majority of them KNOW that they are living on a robbed land. The migrated Zionists outnumbered the local Jews many years ago.

    They should know what to expect the day they decided to "fulfill God's promise, return to the promised land"

    Say if Hamas stop the rocket attacks, will the blockade be lifted? What makes you think the Zionists will treat Hamas better than Fatah the Lapdog?

    So what choice do the Palestinians have? They vote for Fatah and see the money being divided between the leaders. They vote Hamas and get bombed. What else can they do? Accept the "peace" deal? Have you read the "peace" deal such as Wye or Oslo?

    I don't know about you, but I sell the book written by Maszlee malik where the profits are sent to a palestinians fund. That was 2 years ago, and I still contribute to any fund for the palestinians. I never wait until hundreds killed. You do, and then you give your two cents like you are some kind of middle east expert when hundreds are killed.

  19. "No jew no economy."

    Ha ha ha. You make me laugh.
    Look at the economy of the US right now. We don't need your Bernie Madoff.

  20. My neighbor invades my house, pushes me and my family into the store room. They are hell bent of getting rid of me and my family. My other neighbors doesn't want to help me get my house back, they just hold demonstrations and make noise.

    What do I do? I try negotiating with them. They don't want to budge. So i decide to fight them, knowing that i'm outnumbered and out gunned. I throw stones at my neighbors house hoping it will injure someone. Because of that, they came into the storeroom and shoot my wife and kids, while my other neighbors have a meeting on how to stop the violence.

    If you cannot appreciate the concept...get your head examined.

  21. Delete
    Anonymous Azrin said...

    Hamas fired rockets at Israels civilians as, what is the difference?

    What does Hamas hope to achieve by firing rockets at civilians in Israel? To force Israel to end the blockade?

    So, instead of opening the Gaza borders and effectively stop the Hamas rocket attacks, Israel instead choose to kill Palestinians civilians?

  22. So, instead of opening the Gaza borders and effectively stop the Hamas rocket attacks, Israel instead choose to kill Palestinians civilians?

    TB, have you ever read the universal principles of Sun Tzu.

    Btw, it is not a holy text but a political and appropriately and necessarily separated from Taoistic texts.

  23. Azrin,

    my guess is that you just don't want anything like this on the front page of the paper tomorrow because you just cannot stand it.

    Tell you what, if there were no rockets there will still be blockades and no sovereign rules of the Palestinian people. People will starve and die slowly. That's if it is Hamas. If it is Fatah, then people will still suffer because of the corruption. Point here is, Israel will never give up those areas they have occupied before. If it's not the bombs, it'll be starvation. This is occupation bro, not war between two countries.

    You just want all these to happen quietly and not on the front page of your paper.

  24. Anonymous at 5.08pm

    Do you really know what I want? I want all the muslim countries to stop their bullshit and get down to some action. Send in their troops to palestine and drive the zionist away so palestine can reclaim their land...malaysia should lead by sending our ATM....of course that would lead to and all out World War, but what choice have we got since negotiations dont work and the UN is impotent..of course there will be a collapse of the world economy and stuff

  25. Azrin said...
    Do you really know what I want? I want all the muslim countries to stop their bullshit and get down to some action. Send in their troops to palestine and drive the zionist away so palestine can reclaim their land...malaysia should lead by sending our ATM....of course that would lead to and all out World War, but what choice have we got since negotiations dont work and the UN is impotent..of course there will be a collapse of the world economy and stuff.

    Not sure whether you will go ahead with the above if given the power to do so, but i noted you do have a bit of conscience.

    What IDF is doing is regarded 'evil' but what have you got to with Palestinian other than of the same religion. Do you have brothers, sisters or near relative in Gaza?

    Your possible intent is why i always quote Steven Weinberg,

    "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

    There seem to be only one religion at present that is capable to aiding that to 'some' (not all) people.

    If you had been born into another religion, there is no way you (seemingly an average normal human) have such possible 'evil' thoughts.

    It is also to have such unnecessary thoughts which is adding to your normal load of stress.

  26. i'm a non muslim. i have a greater respect to jews intelligence. but in this case i cannot support israel at all. their arrogance reach the limit.Their minister said " now is the time to make palestinian realize they are defeated people". who are they to say that? even the largest empire in the world were/will fall one day. tulang besi, no point boycott american product suddenly.we will suffer even if we boycott microsoft and windows. we must have a proper plan. it must be long term. i bet you those boycotting now will be in KFC 6 months later. i suggest for permanent boycott. government should not let new investor from US. then reduce american investors one by one. rather than boycotte coca-cola, why not we built research team which can invent new drink which can overcome coca-cola and grab their market around the world? we need to think in this way. find alternative first. break their market around the world also in you think we cannot?

  27. What exactly did HAMAS think Israel was going to do? Launching rockets into Israel does nothing to help the people of Gaza. In reality, it never had a chance of getting the blockade removed and had every chance of inspiring Israel into it's current course of action.

    no, the rocket attacks are not justified.

  28. Seeing Through the Lies
    The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza

    The record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.

    Now, as to the reason why, the record is fairly clear as well. According to Ha’aretz, Defense Minister Barak began plans for this invasion before the ceasefire even began. In fact, according to yesterday’s Ha’aretz, the plans for the invasion began in March. And the main reasons for the invasion, I think, are twofold. Number one; to enhance what Israel calls its deterrence capacity, which in layman’s language basically means Israel’s capacity to terrorize the region into submission. After their defeat in July 2006 in Lebanon, they felt it important to transmit the message that Israel is still a fighting force, still capable of terrorizing those who dare defy its word.

    And the second main reason for the attack is because Hamas was signaling that it wanted a diplomatic settlement of the conflict along the June 1967 border. That is to say, Hamas was signaling they had joined the international consensus, they had joined most of the international community, overwhelmingly the international community, in seeking a diplomatic settlement. And at that point, Israel was faced with what Israelis call a Palestinian peace offensive. And in order to defeat the peace offensive, they sought to dismantle Hamas.

    As was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim.

    The issue is can it rule in Gaza if Israel maintains a blockade and prevents economic activity among the Palestinians. The blockade, incidentally, was implemented before Hamas came to power. The blockade doesn’t even have anything to do with Hamas. The blockade came to—there were Americans who were sent over, in particular James Wolfensohn, to try to break the blockade after Israel redeployed its troops in Gaza.

    The problem all along has been that Israel doesn’t want Gaza to develop, and Israel doesn’t want to resolve diplomatically the conflict, both the leadership in Damascus and the leadership in the Gaza have repeatedly made statements they’re willing to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border. The record is fairly clear. In fact, it’s unambiguously clear

  29. Every year, the United Nations General Assembly votes on a resolution entitled “Peaceful Settlement of the Palestine Question.” And every year the vote is the same: it’s the whole world on one side; Israel, the United States and some South Sea atolls and Australia on the other side. The vote this past year was 164-to-7. Every year since 1989—in 1989, the vote was 151-to-3, the whole world on one side, the United States, Israel and the island state of Dominica on the other side.

    We have the Arab League, all twenty-two members of the Arab League, favoring a two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We have the Palestinian Authority favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We now have Hamas favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. The one and only obstacle is Israel, backed by the United States. That’s the problem.

    Well, the record shows that Hamas wanted to continue the ceasefire, but only on condition that Israel eases the blockade. Long before Hamas began the retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinians were facing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza because of the blockade. The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, described what was going on in Gaza as a destruction of a civilization. This was during the ceasefire period.

    What does the record show? The record shows for the past twenty or more years, the entire international community has sought to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border with a just resolution of the refugee question. Are all 164 nations of the United Nations the rejectionists? And are the only people in favor of peace the United States, Israel, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Australia? Who are the rejectionists? Who’s opposing a peace?

    The record shows that in every crucial issue raised at Camp David, then under the Clinton parameters, and then in Taba, at every single point, all the concessions came from the Palestinians. Israel didn’t make any concessions. Every concession came from the Palestinians. The Palestinians have repeatedly expressed a willingness to settle the conflict in accordance with international law.

    The law is very clear. July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, ruled Israel has no title to any of the West Bank and any of Gaza. They have no title to Jerusalem. Arab East Jerusalem, according to the highest judicial body in the world, is occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice ruled all the settlements, all the settlements in the West Bank, are illegal under international law.

    Now, the important point is, on all those questions, the Palestinians were willing to make concessions. They made all the concessions. Israel didn’t make any concessions.

    I think it’s fairly clear what needs to happen. Number one, the United States and Israel have to join the rest of the international community, have to abide by international law. I don’t think international law should be trivialized. I think it’s a serious issue. If Israel is in defiance of international law, it should be called into account, just like any other state in the world.

    Mr. Obama has to level with the American people. He has to be honest about what is the main obstacle to resolving the conflict. It’s not Palestinian rejectionism. It’s the refusal of Israel, backed by the United States government, to abide by international law, to abide by the opinion of the international community.

    And the main challenge for all of us as Americans is to see through the lies.

    Norman Finkelstein is author of five books, including Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Beyond Chutzpah and The Holocaust Industry, which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions. He is the son of Holocaust survivors. This article is an edited extract of the views of Finkelstein given at His website is

  30. How Many Divisions?
    The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza

    Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

    Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

    This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

    Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

  31. IN THIS WAR, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.

    Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government (“The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets”) has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.

    Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.

    True, Western and Israeli TV channels showed only a tiny fraction of the dreadful events that appear 24 hours every day on Aljazeera’s Arabic channel, but one picture of a dead baby in the arms of its terrified father is more powerful than a thousand elegantly constructed sentences from the Israeli army spokesman. And that is what is decisive, in the end.

    War – every war – is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one’s country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.

    The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions.

    An example of this process surrounds the most shocking atrocity of this war so far: the shelling of the UN Fakhura school in Jabaliya refugee camp.

    Immediately after the incident became known throughout the world, the army “revealed” that Hamas fighters had been firing mortars from near the school entrance. As proof they released an aerial photo which indeed showed the school and the mortar. But within a short time the official army liar had to admit that the photo was more than a year old. In brief: a falsification.

    Later the official liar claimed that “our soldiers were shot at from inside the school”. Barely a day passed before the army had to admit to UN personnel that that was a lie, too. Nobody had shot from inside the school, no Hamas fighters were inside the school, which was full of terrified refugees.

    But the admission made hardly any difference anymore. By that time, the Israeli public was completely convinced that “they shot from inside the school”, and TV announcers stated this as a simple fact.

    So it went with the other atrocities. Every baby metamorphosed, in the act of dying, into a Hamas terrorist. Every bombed mosque instantly became a Hamas base, every apartment building an arms cache, every school a terror command post, every civilian government building a “symbol of Hamas rule”. Thus the Israeli army retained its purity as the “most moral army in the world”.

  32. THE TRUTH is that the atrocities are a direct result of the war plan. This reflects the personality of Ehud Barak – a man whose way of thinking and actions are clear evidence of what is called “moral insanity”, a sociopathic disorder.

    The real aim (apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign country. The reality is, of course, entirely different.

    The Hamas movement won the majority of the votes in the eminently democratic elections that took place in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It won because the Palestinians had come to the conclusion that Fatah’s peaceful approach had gained precisely nothing from Israel - neither a freeze of the settlements, nor release of the prisoners, nor any significant steps toward ending the occupation and creating the Palestinian state. Hamas is deeply rooted in the population – not only as a resistance movement fighting the foreign occupier, like the Irgun and the Stern Group in the past – but also as a political and religious body that provides social, educational and medical services.

    From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other Palestinian regions. They do not “hide behind the population”, the population views them as their only defenders.

    Therefore, the whole operation is based on erroneous assumptions. Turning life into living hell does not cause the population to rise up against Hamas, but on the contrary, it unites behind Hamas and reinforces its determination not to surrender. The population of Leningrad did not rise up against Stalin, any more than the Londoners rose up against Churchill.

    He who gives the order for such a war with such methods in a densely populated area knows that it will cause dreadful slaughter of civilians. Apparently that did not touch him. Or he believed that “they will change their ways” and “it will sear their consciousness”, so that in future they will not dare to resist Israel.

    A top priority for the planners was the need to minimize casualties among the soldiers, knowing that the mood of a large part of the pro-war public would change if reports of such casualties came in. That is what happened in Lebanon Wars I and II.

    This consideration played an especially important role because the entire war is a part of the election campaign. Ehud Barak, who gained in the polls in the first days of the war, knew that his ratings would collapse if pictures of dead soldiers filled the TV screens.

    Therefore, a new doctrine was applied: to avoid losses among our soldiers by the total destruction of everything in their path. The planners were not only ready to kill 80 Palestinians to save one Israeli soldier, as has happened, but also 800. The avoidance of casualties on our side is the overriding commandment, which is causing record numbers of civilian casualties on the other side.

    That means the conscious choice of an especially cruel kind of warfare – and that has been its Achilles heel.

    A person without imagination, like Barak (his election slogan: “Not a Nice Guy, but a Leader”) cannot imagine how decent people around the world react to actions like the killing of whole extended families, the destruction of houses over the heads of their inhabitants, the rows of boys and girls in white shrouds ready for burial, the reports about people bleeding to death over days because ambulances are not allowed to reach them, the killing of doctors and medics on their way to save lives, the killing of UN drivers bringing in food. The pictures of the hospitals, with the dead, the dying and the injured lying together on the floor for lack of space, have shocked the world. No argument has any force next to an image of a wounded little girl lying on the floor, twisting with pain and crying out: “Mama! Mama!”

    The planners thought that they could stop the world from seeing these images by forcibly preventing press coverage. The Israeli journalists, to their shame, agreed to be satisfied with the reports and photos provided by the Army Spokesman, as if they were authentic news, while they themselves remained miles away from the events. Foreign journalists were not allowed in either, until they protested and were taken for quick tours in selected and supervised groups. But in a modern war, such a sterile manufactured view cannot completely exclude all others – the cameras are inside the strip, in the middle of the hell, and cannot be controlled. Aljazeera broadcasts the pictures around the clock and reaches every home.

  33. Gilad Atzmon - Israel Has Managed to Lose Again
    By Gilad Atzmon • Jan 14th, 2009 at 23:55 • Category: Analysis, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad's Choice, Israel, Newswire, Our Authors, Palestine, Religion, Resistance, War, Zionism
    Haaretz reported today that IDF Senior officials "believe that Israel should strive to reach an immediate cease-fire with Hamas, and not expand its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza."

    This shouldn't take us by great surprise. Though Israel has proved beyond doubt that it is rather capable of conducting large-scale genocide, it also proved that its military forces do not have the answer to Islamic resistance. The Israeli chief military officials admitted as well that "Israel achieved several days ago all that it possibly could in Gaza." The IDF, so it seems, finished its role in Gaza. It turned its neighbourhoods into piles of rubble. Relentlessly, it even murdered the civilian population in broad daylight by means of air raids and attacks from warships. Images of white phosphorus artillery shells bursting over schools and hospitals are now part of our collective memory. Tanks firing into schools loaded with evacuees seeking refuge from the bombing of their buildings is now the image associated with the Hebraic soldier and yet, the Israelis failed to achieve any of their objectives. I must admit that it must take a special talent to be an Israeli general. As much as they are good in committing war crimes, they somehow fail in everything else.

    The Israeli politicians initially swore to destroy Hamas, they then lowered their expectations, they promised just to destroy Hamas' rocket launching capabilities, all the while reassuring their excited Israeli voters that this time the Jewish State will fight till the bitter end. Seemingly, their promises fell too short once again.

    Hamas is still there; its support within the Palestinian street is stronger than ever. But it is not only the Palestinian street. Hamas' message of defiance is spreading all over the Muslim world and beyond. Last week I was marching in London together with another 100,000 protesters. The support for Hamas was all around. It was on placards, flags, headbands and loudspeakers. Not only is Hamas far from being defeated, its rocket launching capability seems to be unaffected. Day after day Hamas combatants manage to remind Israelis in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot that they actually live on stolen Palestinian land. Give Hamas the necessary time and the ballistic message will be carried to every corner of stolen Palestine.

    Israel is desperate for an exit strategy. I learned today that Defence Minister Barak is looking for a week long humanitarian ceasefire. Please do not hold your breath, the notorious mass murderer didn't change his spots all of a sudden. Being a veteran general, Barak realises very well that his soldiers on the ground need a break and they need it now. Being that they are gathered together in a few scattered open areas, they are currently exposed to Hamas' snipers and mortar fire. In the last few days, Israeli forces started to suffer a growing number of causalities. The attempt to step up the battle into Gaza's neighbourhood met with some severe resistance. The Israeli army is stuck once again.

    If this is not enough, within a few days Obama is going to reside in the White House and the Israelis are not totally convinced that the new American president will blindly support their murderous strategy. Defence Minister Barak realizes that his window of opportunity might be closing down. He realises that IDF soldiers may have to dig in Gaza city outskirts without achieving any of the war's military objectives. Barak needs a few days of ceasefire to create a new reality on the ground. He obviously prefers to hide behind a humanitarian effort. This is far easier than admitting that once again the IDF was caught unprepared. Olmert aids, however were stupid enough to admit the lie. Apparently one of them slammed Barak earlier on today suggesting that "Hamas sees the scenes and hears the voices, these comments are a shot in the arm for Hamas and its leaders."

  34. As things stand, IDF soldiers are now stranded in Gaza. Don't misinterpret me, they are still capable of spreading death and inflicting carnage, yet they cannot win this war. The IAF ran out of ˜military" targets a week ago and the artillery is probably facing the same situation. As news floods in it becomes evident that once Israeli soldiers leave their armoured vehicles and Merkava tanks they are subject to the mercy of Hamas. I have read today on Ynet that some IDF soldiers reported that they "don't really see the enemy", "we get hit and we do not know by who and how."

    As things stand, Hamas is becoming a symbol of heroic persistence. Its combatants on the ground fight almost with bare hands against America's most lethal technology. Similarly, Hamas'political leadership has managed to set itself as the key to any possible resolution of the current conflict. The hope that Hamas would be toppled or discredited proved to be just another Jewish wet dream. Hamas is now becoming a widely accepted entity by the international community. It is regarded as an elementary ingredient in any possible solution. Israel, on the other hand, is seen for what it is for real, a murderous criminal state involved in genocidal war crimes of the worst order.

    However, there is a new reality that we have to bear in mind. The damage Israel is leaving behind in Gaza is horrific. It has flattened neighbourhoods, it has spread white phosphorus in populated areas. As if this is not enough, the many tons of bunker buster bombs which Israel was using day and night have shaken the foundations of every building in Gaza and the question looms large as to whether Gazan houses that are still standing will be safe to live in. EU officials raised the question today wondering who is going to pay for the reconstruction of these eradicated towns, camps and villages.

    In an ideal ethical world, Israel would have let the Gazans go back to their land. But ethics and Israel are very much like parallel lines. They somehow never meet. As much as it is clear that Palestinians will come back to their land, it won't be Israel that that will welcome the inevitable returning Palestinians.

    Someone will have to rebuild Gaza, and the only name that comes to mind is the democratically elected Hamas. Such a huge project maintained by Hamas will be the right answer to Israel's criminal war and its murderous objectives.

  35. 'Three Israeli generals wounded in Gaza'
    Wed, 14 Jan 2009 13:49:08 GMT

    A wounded Israeli soldier is carried to a hospital, Jan. 13
    Three Israeli generals as well as scores of soldiers have been reportedly wounded on the 18th day of Tel Aviv's attacks on the Gaza Strip.

    Three Israeli generals and three soldiers were injured in Tuesday's fighting with the resistance in the costal sliver, Hezbollah's al-Manar TV station reported on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the armed wing of Fatah movement said in a statement on Tuesday that one of its fighters had blown himself up among a group of Israeli soldiers.

    The statement, released by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said that around 20 Israeli soldiers had been killed or wounded in the attack, which was carried out near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia.

    There was no immediate response from the Israeli military to confirm or deny the statement.

    While Israel says it has only lost 12 soldiers during 19 days of attacks on Gaza, Hamas figures suggest that at least 34 Israeli forces have been killed and nearly 100 have been injured since the beginning of Tel Aviv's military campaign on December 27.

    Israel launched Operation Cast Lead to halt the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in retaliation to the blockade of the densely-populated costal region, which is home to 1.5 million people.

    Thus far, 975 Gazans - including at least 311 children and 97 women - have been killed and 4,500 others have been wounded in Israel's aggression.

  36. Hamas puts Israeli casualties at 360
    By: cosmo on: 14.01.2009 [21:14 ] (382 reads)
    This is very plausible consideringthe number of vehicles and tanks that were hit.

    The zio are kol nidre liars by creed.

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    Hamas puts Israeli casualties at 360
    Wed, 14 Jan 2009 17:59:54 GMT

    The Hamas military wing says its fighters have killed or injured at least 360 Israeli soldiers since the start of Operation Cast Lead.

    The al-Qassam Brigades announced Wednesday that its fighters have so far killed 40 Israeli officers and soldiers; injuring 320 others since Israel launched a military campaign in the densely-populated Gaza Strip on December 27, Al-Aqsa TV station reported.

    Tel Aviv says it launched the aggression against Gaza to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,001 Palestinians have died during the offensive, while some 4,580 others are reported wounded.

    Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of the coastal sliver, demands a cessation of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip before its fighters suspend the rocket attacks.

    In response to Israel's full-scale invasion, Hamas has stepped up rocket attacks on Israeli cities. On Wednesday Grad missiles hit several Israeli towns killing an Israeli and wounding several others in Ashdod.

    According to the Al-Aqsa report, Al-Qassam said several Israeli soldiers had been killed and wounded on Wednesday after the resistance fighters attacked an Israeli position in al-Atatera region in Beit Lahiya.

    Two more Israeli soldiers were killed by Hamas snipers in Al-Tawam neighborhood in Jabalia north of Gaza City.

    Earlier in the day, Hezbollah's al-Manar TV reported that three Israeli generals and three soldiers were injured in Tuesday's fighting with the Palestinian resistance in the costal sliver.

    The Israeli army, meanwhile, says it has only lost 12 soldiers during the 19-day-old operation.


  37. Greece hinders US arms delivery to Israel
    Wed, 14 Jan 2009 14:39:42 GMT

    Attempted US arms delivery raises fears of Gaza escalation.
    The US has to re-route arms shipment to Israel as Athens declined to allow a Greek port be used as a transit point, fearing nationwide protests.

    The transit was called off by the Greek government on Tuesday, after the issue provoked a media outcry in Greece, where Israel's 19-day-old offensive in Gaza is deeply unpopular.

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, however, painted a different picture, saying that the route had been changed to avoid Greece, "because the Greek government had some issue with the off-loading of some of that shipment in their country."

    Morrell declined to say what type of arms were included in the shipment.

    This is while the US military claimed that the shipment of 325 containers of ammunition from the Greek port of Astakos to a US stockpile in Israel was canceled in light of the proximity of the Israeli port of Ashdod - the shipment's destination - to the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

    Anti-Israeli protester in Athens
    Opposition parties in Greece have called for public demonstrations in Astakos on Wednesday and Thursday, raising fears of fresh nationwide protests, only weeks after violent anti-government riots were subdued.

    Since the beginning of the Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip on December 27, more than 975 people have been killed and another 4,500 have been wounded.

  38. 17 Israeli troops injured in Gaza
    Thu, 15 Jan 2009 02:30:17 GMT

    Seventeen Israeli paratroopers have been wounded after they came under attack by Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip.

    Six soldiers were injured when Israeli tanks were hit by anti-tank missiles outside Gaza City, late on Wednesday. They were later transferred to hospitals.

    Meanwhile, six other soldiers were wounded when a wall collapsed in northern Gaza City, while, five more Israeli forces sustained injuries in a gun battle with Hamas fighters.

    The commander of the Paratroopers 101st Battalion, Lt. Col. Avi Balut, was one of the officers wounded in the gun battle, Haaretz reported.

    The news comes as the latest Israeli air strikes across the beleaguered Gaza Strip, left at least 13 more Palestinians killed.

    At least 1,038 people including 312 children have been killed and more than 4,700 others wounded since Israel started its Operation Cast Lead on December 27.

  39. The following article from the International Press may give an alternate view on the going ons in GAZA and its future:

    "Today everyone's talking about a ceasefire in Gaza. With the UN proposing one and Israel demurring, the public, unaware of anything much about Gaza, Hamas, or Israel, blithely puts Israel in the dock. Yet during the last "ceasefire," when rockets continued to land in Israeli civilian centers, there was a noticeable silence on the part of the international community. It seems it's okay to drag Israel back from an attack on a massively financed and armed terrorist entity (and if Hamas isn't a terrorist entity, it's hard to know what it is), but just not right on to demand the same sort of action on the part of the terrorists. Don't forget, Israel isn't the only one refusing a ceasefire at this point: Hamas is rejecting one too, and for dishonest reasons.

    There are things going on here that half the world just doesn't get. All those clamoring for a ceasefire think all other parties understand the word just like they do. They'd be wrong. The secular Arabic press, such as the international newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, uses the standard Arabic term for a cessation of fire: waqf al-nar or waqf itlaq al-nar. That is a literal translation, and it means exactly what ceasefire means in English and other languages. But Hamas don't talk about a cessation of fire, because that would be to introduce a term from the Western political vocabulary into their discourse, and they can't do that.

    Why not? Because Hamas is a deeply-grounded Islamist movement that follows the principle that Muslims must never do anything that resembles what the non-believers do. That's why many Muslims here will only wear Muslim clothes and refuse to join in Christmas, birthday or other celebrations with their Christian neighbors.

    Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and, unlike Fatah, it prioritizes religious values and aims. A Hamas council has just introduced the implementation of severe punishments, such as amputations and crucifixions for breaches of Islamic law in matters like theft or adultery.

    Read their 1988 Covenant (al-Mithaq) and you will grasp the fact that their struggle against Israel has nothing to do with land in the sense that is understood in international law. Their gripe is that the whole of what they anachronistically term "Palestine" (the old Southern Syria) was conquered by Islam in the 7th century and not an inch of it must pass out of Muslim hands forever.

    As their Covenant makes clear, they are fighting a Jihad, and the rules they observe are Jihad rules, based on centuries of legislation about the waging of war against unbelievers. The problem with Jihad rules is that they simply don't recognize all the elements of international law that modern states base their treaties and international conventions on. Jihad law includes rules on how and when to deceive the foe, and envisages no outcome other than the death or submission of non-Muslims.

    When Hamas announces a temporary cease-fire (a hudna or, recently, a tahdiyya or lull), it does so, not to have an opportunity to talk peace, but to regroup and re-arm. "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement." The only solution to the Middle East problem is war: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

    Numerous times in the past, Israel has shown itself willing to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, on conditions similar to those propounded by the Quartet, first and foremost recognition of Israel's right to exist, followed by a guarantee that there will be no further resort to violence, including terrorist attacks on civilians (and that includes firing rockets at them). As time has passed, especially since the death of Yasser Arafat, a degree of pragmatism has entered the Palestinian mind, but not the thinking of Hamas. Not only will Hamas not make peace with Israel in order to create a viable Palestinian state, they are as ready to kill Palestinian Muslims in order to gain total control of Gaza and the West Bank.

    A recent Hamas pronouncement boasted that the Palestinians (for which read Hamas) have made an industry of death and that everyone plays a part: "...the women exceed at this, and so too do the mujahideen [fighters in jihad] and the children. That's why they have formed human shields of the women the children the elderly and the mujahideen in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine." (My italics)

    This is the only fighting force in history to boast that they have made human shields of their own people. There are films of "brave" Hamas gunmen dragging screaming children along to serve as shields, and of civilians sent onto the roofs of rocket launching sites, where, ironically, they know the Israelis will not fire on them. It is a mockery of military ethics, yet it goes barely noticed in the Western media.

    Israel is not along in fighting terrorism. Even now, this country fights al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan. If we ever gave up the fight against Islamist terror in Britain, we would reap the whirlwind in bombings on land and in the air. Why then do so many of us scorn what Israel does? A combination of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran could one day bring Israel down and result in the deaths of millions of Jews. Is there any good reason why Israel should acquiesce in this? Is our grass roots anti-Semitism still so ferocious that we cannot bear the thought of a Jewish state in the Middle East, even if that state was brought into being by a majority vote of the UN?

    This war is not a pretty war, but, truth be told, no wars are pretty. If Hamas cannot be fought to a standstill or until it is a spent force, lulls in the fighting will be of absolutely no use. Beaten to a ceasefire, Hamas will return. They will return and they will fight to a standstill again, then they will regroup and attack once more. More deaths, of Israelis and Palestinians both. Ever-postponed statehood for the Palestinians, unending vituperation of Israel, which is only a democracy trying to defend its civilians from crimes this country would not bear for a week.

    It's not a time for a ceasefire. When it comes, let the Palestinian Authority make it and keep to it, and let the PA police its own territories and rein in the madmen who cannot accept anything but their own right to rule everybody else, and their self-proclaimed right to kill Jews wherever they may be found. For Hamas has now announced that they will do exactly that: kill Jews, not just Israeli Jews, but Jews in any country where they may be found. And these are the people the UN and others would have Israel make a ceasefire with today.

  40. Israeli army masses along Lebanon border
    By: cosmo on: 15.01.2009 [07:54 ] (171 reads)

    THe zioentity does not dare to get in a fight with Hezbollah, that will bring catastrophy for the ziopopulation at many levels.
    From the military to whatever with emphasis on whatever.

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    Wed, 14 Jan 2009 17:55:06 GMT

    Southern Lebanon is witnessing the build-up of Israeli armored vehicles - tanks, military vessels and Apache helicopters - along the border.

    Israel deploys military units along the border with Lebanon amid growing concerns that the assault on Gaza was the onset of a multi-front war.

    Nineteen days after the start of the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, the Lebanese daily Al Safir reported Wednesday that southern Lebanon had witnessed the build-up of Israeli armored vehicles - tanks, military vessels and Apache helicopters - along the border.

    "The Israeli army has mobilized its troops along the border from the western Lebanese village of Naqurah to the southern border village of Al Wazzani."

    Citing military officials from Lebanon, the daily added that Israeli forces had also fired flares into the Lebanese territory.

    While the report adds that the Lebanese army is on high alert, informed sources told Press TV's correspondent in Beirut that Hezbollah has also put its members on red alert.

    Wednesday saw at least three rockets fired from the area of Habaniyeh in southern Lebanon into Israel. No casualties among the Israelis have been reported. Within minutes of the attack, Israel responded by firing eight rockets into southern Lebanon.

    Following the rocket exchange, Israel sent telephone warnings to residents of southern Lebanon threatening to start a second front.

    "People of Lebanon, launching rockets from southern Lebanon against innocents in northern Israel harms your own interests," one of the warnings said, according to AFP.

    Israel's prime minister warned last week that no one in the region should "get the wrong impression" over Israel's determination "on any front."

    "We are not afraid of any confrontation or threat. We truly hope that no one will put us to the test," Ehud Olmert said in a speech broadcast on army radio.

    On the opening days of the war on Gaza, Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said the Israeli offensive would ignite a multi-front war which could lead to a US attack on Iran.

    "So while our focus obviously is on Gaza right now, this could turn out to be a much larger conflict," the hawkish US official told FOXNews, adding, "We're looking at potentially a multi-front war."

    Amid widespread speculation that the conflict in the Palestinian territory could spill over to other parts of the Middle East, Bolton added that there is "the possibility of the use of military force possibly by the United States, possibly by Israel," on Iran after the current war.

    However, after Israel launched the ground phase of its operation last Saturday, Nadim Shehadi, a Lebanese political analyst said "It looks like Israel has enough trouble as it is, and there is no way (Israel) can come out of this saying it was a success."

    On December 25, two days before the start of the Israeli offensive against Gaza, Lebanese soldiers found and dismantled eight Katyusha rockets equipped with timers pointed south toward Israel.

    Ever since the rocket incident, there has been an escalation of tensions on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

    Lebanese president Michel Suleiman suggested Israel was responsible for the eight rockets found in southern Lebanon, saying that he fears "it is an Israeli attack to implicate Lebanon," according to the NOW Lebanon news website.

    As the Palestinian casualties from Israel's Operation Cast Lead have topped 1,000 on day 19, Israel refuses to respond to international calls for a ceasefire.

    Israeli Defense Minister ruled out the possibility of halting the ongoing offensive against the impoverished Strip on Tuesday.

    Ehud Barak said "We heard yesterday, and respect, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's appeal, and we are closely following the progress on the Egyptian truce initiative, but the fighting goes on and the IDF Israel Defense Forces continues to operate our troops."


  41. 90 organizations, mainly French, to prosecute Israel for War Crimes
    By: Saed Bannoura on: 15.01.2009 [22:50 ] (196 reads)

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    Saed Bannoura - IMEM

    January 14, 2009

    Ninety organizations, mainly French, decided to prosecute Israel at the International Court for committing War Crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli offensive left more than 1033 Palestinians dead, and over 4580 wounded in its first two weeks.

    The French Lamond Newspaper reported that the organizations prosecuting Israel in the International Court are pro-Palestinian and that this step comes as several Arab and international organizations are also moving towards filing lawsuit against Israel for war crimes against the unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially since Israel is using internationally banned weapons in its war such as White Phosphorus.

    A French lawyer who phrased the lawsuit said that the eight article of the Rome Conventions specifies a war crime as "a deliberate act that aims at harming civilians and causing great suffering, harming them physically, destroying their property in a way that cannot be justified".

    The lawyer, Jill Devier, said that a country cannot justify its war crimes by saying that it was subjected to missile fire "even if the Palestinian homemade shells fired into Israel also constitute a war crime".

    He added that the lawsuit against Israel is well supported by two main legal basis;

    1. The inequivalent Israel attack against Gaza, as it includes shelling heavily populated areas. He said that this issue was also raised at the Security Council on December 31.

    2. The targets of the Israeli shelling were mainly civilian, as most of the casualties are children and women, and the army also shelled governmental facilities, mosques, sport clubs, and a building which had journalists on its rooftop.

    Responding to a question regarding the chances of winning the lawsuit especially since it is prosecuting figures in a country that does not recognize the international court, Devier said that this issue makes the case more difficult but added that several Israeli officials have dual citizenships and could be prosecuted in the countries of their second citizenship.

    Another possibility, he added, is that the United Nations can form special courts or the security council can call for a lawsuit against Israel, yet he said that the two options are hard to achieve under the current international situation, most likely referring to the biased US government support to Israel.

    The number of Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli offensive and illegal war against Gaza exceeded 1000, while at least 4,418 were wounded. Most of the casualties are women, elderly and children.

  42. Heavy fighting in Gaza City amid signs truce near
    By: Middle East News on: 15.01.2009 [19:17 ] (177 reads)

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    Heavy fighting in Gaza City amid signs truce near (3rd Roundup)
    Middle East News

    Jan 15, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Gaza City - Israel upped its pressure on Palestinian militants Thursday, with ground troops advancing close to the centre of Gaza City in one of the worst days of fighting since the assault began and amid growing signs that the offensive could be in its final days.

    But as the talk of a ceasefire gained momentum, an Israeli airstrike killed one of the top Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip.

    Said Siam, the interior minister of the Hamas administration in the salient was killed along with his brother Iyad and Salah Abu Shreh, the head of Hamas' security apparatus.

    Considered a hardliner in the movement, he is the most senior Hamas leader to be killed since the Israeli operation began nearly three weeks ago.

    It was unclear how his death, which was confirmed by Hamas, would affect the movement's willingness to accept Egyptian proposals for ending the fighting.

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference in Tel Aviv early Thursday afternoon that the elements were there for a ceasefire to be in place 'reasonably soon,' but added that how soon depended on the 'political will of the Israeli government.'

    Both Ban and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have spoken of an immediate truce, which would see both sides end the fighting, to be followed by a more durable truce.

    During that initial halt to the fighting, the parties would discuss a more durable truce, including the guarantees and mechanisms Israel is demanding to end arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

    While the terms were being worked out, the Israeli army would remain in the salient.

    Hamas has said it is amenable to a temporary halt to the fighting, but rejects any long-term truce with the Jewish state. Senior Israeli Defence Ministry official Amos Gilad met Eyptian officials in Cairo Thursday to hear how Hamas interpreted a ceasefire.

    A senior Israeli official said Israel felt 'momentum' Thursday morning regarding a ceasefire. Gilad was due to brief Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on his return from Cairo. Any Israel decision would be based on what he had to tell them, the official said.

    Ban and Steinmeier were in Israel for talks with officials as part of a diplomatic push to find an end to the Israeli offensive, in its 20th day Thursday.

    But while the secretary general and Germany's top diplomat were holding talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israeli ground troops were taking on Hamas and other militants as close as 1.5 kilometres from the city centre, Gaza City residents said.

    Backed by heavy tank shelling, the troops concentrated in the southern Tel el-Hawa neighbourhood in their deepest push yet into the city of 400,000.

    During the fighting, three shells hit a United Nations compound in the centre of Gaza City.

    The shells set ablaze a warehouse storing food and medicine and spread to other sections of the compound, which houses aid agencies and where some 700 people were seeking refuge from the fighting.

    One wing of the al-Quds hospital was also on fire, UN officials said, and two buildings housing journalists were hit.

    Residents of Tel el-Hawa were panicking in their residential buildings, some of them high-rises, while keeping doors and windows shut, and calling on international organizations to evacuate them.

    Thousands were also fleeing their homes. Ambulances were unable to reach the area amid the heavy battles.

    Heavy exchanges were reported in the nearby, but more southern, Zaytoun neighbourhood.

    Al-Jazeera reported that tanks had also pushed close to the house of Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas' leading hardliner. Five of his bodyguards were reported killed during the night.

    A Hamas website reported that an Israeli airstrike also hit the home of Hamas interim minister Said Siam, killing his brother Iyad.

    An Israeli military spokeswoman said local militants were confronting the ground troops with mortar shells and small arms, sparking 'very intense' exchanges of fire.

    She said the tanks were returning fire only toward the sources of the Palestinian fire.

    Hamas and other militant factions in turn stepped up their rocket attacks, firing approximately 20 into southern Israel by early afternoon, more than the average for previous days.

    One struck in a garden of a home in the town of Sderot, located just a few kilometres to the north-east of the strip. The family living there had escaped into the safe room of the house.

    Two rockets which slammed into the city of Beersheba wounded five peopel including a 7-year-old boy.

    The Palestinian toll for the entire Israeli offensive now stands at at least 1,063 dead and some 5,000 injured, according to Gaza emergency services chief Mo'aweya Hassanein.

    Some 13 Israelis, including nine soldiers, have been killed in the ground fighting in the Gaza Strip and by Palestinian rocket fire, which has also wounded dozens more.

    In his news conference Thursday, Ban said that the number of casualties in the Gaza fighting had reached an 'unbearable point' and it was 'unacceptable' that more people would be killed in the fighting.

    It was equally unacceptable that almost 1 million people in Israel lived day and night in fear of Hamas rockets from the Gaza Strip, he said.

    Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on December 27, in response to massive rocket barrages form the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on its southern towns and villages. After a week of incessant air strikes, ground troops crossed into the Gaza Strip on January 3.


  43. British MP: Israel exploits guilt over Holocaust to murder Palestinians
    By: AP on: 15.01.2009 [19:00 ] (229 reads)

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    Gerald Kaufman, a governing Labour Party British Member of Parliament, declared Thursday that Israel was taking advantage of the guilt many non-Jews feel over the Holocaust to ruthlessly press ahead with its offensive in Gaza.

    Kaufman, a frequent critic of Israel who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, sharply criticized Israel in a House of Commons debate on Gaza, saying that "The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians."

    The MP also commented on the claim that large numbers of the Palestinian victims were militants, saying that "I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants," he said.

    Kaufman urged the British government to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

  44. 15, 2009
    Does Israeli Intelligence Lie?

    by Ira Chernus
    All of the suffering in Gaza – indeed, all of the suffering endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation for the last eight years – could have been avoided if Israel negotiated a peace agreement with Yasser Arafat when it had the chance, in 2001.

    What chance? The official Israeli position is that there was no chance, "no partner for peace." That's what Israeli leaders heard from their Military Intelligence (MI) service in 2000 after the failure of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David. Arafat scuttled those talks, MI told the leaders, because he was planning to set off a new round of violence, a second intifada.

    Now former top officials of MI say the whole story, painting Arafat as a terrorist out to destroy Israel, was an intentional fiction. That's the most explosive finding in an investigative report just published in Israel's top newspaper, Ha'aretz, by one of its finest journalists, Akiva Eldar.

    Tale of Two Tales

    Much like our own CIA, Eldar's sources say, Israeli military intelligence has two versions of every story. MI analysts give their findings to government policymakers in oral reports that simply tell the political leaders what they want to hear. Meanwhile, the analysts keep the truth secret, filed away in written documents, waiting to be pulled out to cover MI's posterior if the government's policies turned out to be failures.

    Much of the information in the Ha'aretz report comes from Ephraim Lavie, an honors graduate of Israel's National Security College who rose through the ranks in MI's research section and eventually became head of MI's Palestinian research unit during the era of the Camp David talks. "Defining Arafat and the PA as 'terrorist elements' was the directive of the political echelon," said Lavie. "The unit's written analyses were presenting completely different assessments, based on reliable intelligence material."

    The idea that "there is no one to talk to and nothing to talk about," simply because Arafat rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David, just wasn't true. But it was what the politicians wanted to hear.

    Journalist Eldar found others who had worked inside MI to corroborate Lavie's story. General Gadi Zohar, who once headed the MI terrorism desk, agrees the heads of the MI research unit "developed and advanced the 'no partner' theory and the notion that 'Arafat planned and initiated the intifada' even though it was clear at that time that this was not the researchers' reasoned professional opinion."

    In fact, these intelligence veterans say, MI concluded after Camp David that Arafat was willing to follow the Oslo process and abide by interim agreements. He wanted to keep the negotiating process alive, and even told his staff to prepare public opinion to accept an agreement that would include compromises. He thought violence would not help his cause. In late September 2000, when violence did erupt in a second intifada, it was purely a popular protest, MI found. Arafat and his advisors never expected it, much less planned it.

    They did let the violence go on, to put pressure on the Israelis in future negotiations. But Israeli leaders had already made it clear they would make no more compromises. That's exactly why MI invented the story of Arafat's intransigence and commitment to violence; MI was giving the political leaders oral briefings that supported policies the politicians had already agreed on. As Lavie puts it, the MI research unit was an instrument in the politicians' propaganda campaign.

    "The conception underneath the 'no partner' approach became a model with grave national implications," Zohar points out. The most serious result, says Lavie, is that Israeli leaders have "ignored the connection between Israel's acts and their implications for the Palestinian arena." Instead, they repeated the old story that Israel is an innocent victim of the Palestinians, who are bent on unprovoked violence.

    MI told Israel's leaders the violence was all Arafat's fault, hiding what it knew about broad popular support for acts of resistance. By undermining the power of Arafat, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority, Israeli leaders created a governmental vacuum. They then turned around and said, "See, we have no one to negotiate with, no partner for peace." Instead, Israel responded to the intifada with heightened violence of its own, which of course provoked even more Palestinian popular resistance and even more Israeli suppression. So the vicious cycle of violence kept spiraling ever downward.

    Rise of Hamas

    The combination of Palestinian political vacuum and Israeli violence also boosted the fortunes of Hamas, another development that MI kept hidden from Israel's political leadership, according to this report. To reinforce the "no partner for peace" story, MI treated Arafat as the only significant political force on the Palestinian side. So it ignored the growing power of Hamas. The MI unit predicted a tie between Hamas and Fatah in the January 2006 Palestinian election, or at most a tiny advantage for Hamas. Hamas, of course, won a major victory in an election outside observers found free and fair.

    All of this, say Eldar and his sources, is crucial background for the tragic Israeli relationship with Gaza. The MI oral briefings (to repeat Lavie's crucial words) "ignored the connection between Israel's acts and their implications for the Palestinian arena." So they encouraged Israel's leaders to believe they could separate their own nation from the neighbors they continued to control. In the West Bank they began building a physical wall. In Gaza they withdrew their occupation troops, hoping to leave Gaza to live or die on its own. The leadership simply ignored the possibility that Hamas might be strong enough to gain popular control in Gaza.

    The evacuation from Gaza was tied up with a larger strategy, again spurred by telling leaders what they wanted to hear. When the Bush administration endorsed the so-called Road Map for Middle East peace, MI told the Israeli government not to take it seriously; it was just an American public relations gesture to mollify the Arab states. Israeli leaders were unprepared when it turned out that Washington expected Israel to take the road map seriously.

    The Israeli prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, then announced his plan to withdraw Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza. He hoped to avoid pressure from Bush to continue negotiations. Sharon's senior advisor, Dov Weissglas, famously said that "the disengagement from Gaza is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians...This whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely."

    Gaza Today

    But the message to Hamas was that Israel would act unilaterally, refusing to negotiate with the ascendant Palestinian party. Instead, the Israelis would rely on brute force. Tragically, as the events of the past two weeks have shown, the level of force just goes on escalating. Hamas, like any political party, has both moderate and intransigent wings. Israel's policies have consistently undermined the moderates, who would want to pursue negotiations if they saw any chance. Israel has denied them that chance, leaving violence or surrender as the only options. And Israel's underestimation of the power of Hamas power is still proving a fatal mistake.

    But if these new revelations are true, the policy of unilateralism and brute force didn't originate with Sharon and his right-wing Likud Party. It goes back to 2000, when the Labor Party, headed by Ehud Barak, refused to agree with Yasser Arafat that the path of negotiation – as difficult and tedious as it was – should be pursued to a successful end. The one attempt to revive the negotiations, at Taaba in early 2001, collapsed when Barak withdrew.

    Today Barak, as the Defense Minister in charge of the Gaza attack, sees his once-fading political fortunes rapidly rising again. Most of the Israeli public still believes what MI tells the political leaders in briefings often leaked to the press: Israel is a helpless victim of Palestinian violence, violence that Israeli policies did nothing to provoke. But now it looks like analysts in Israel's own Military Intelligence service have long known how false this story is, according to former top MI officials.

    When the story appeared in Ha'aretz in early January, it drew a quick rebuttal from General Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the MI research unit: "MI never adjusted its assessment to what the leadership wanted." Of course if the charges are true, that's just what would be expected: an official public story at odds with the privately known truth.

    On the other hand, it's possible that Eldar has uncovered the trail of an old internal dispute within MI. Speaking of the time when the Camp David talks collapsed and the second intifada began, Kuperwasser says: "I assume that all the assessments about Arafat's behavior in August and September 2000 were written by Lavie. In Central Command, where I was then serving as the intelligence officer, our assessment was that the Palestinians were bent on a confrontation." In other words, the experts in the Palestinian section of MI, headed by Lavie, saw Arafat as a potential partner for peace but their superiors reversed the assessment.

    But even if only some key Israeli intelligence officers believed negotiations could yield a positive outcome, that news should be a shocking revelation. Yet a Google News search a few days after the article appeared found not a single mention of it anywhere in the world's news media, and certainly not in the United States, where it matters most. It matters most here because Israel can't continue its military action without at least a tacit green light from Washington. Washington can give that green light only as long as the American public raises no serious objection. The public here isn't likely to object as long as the basic plotline of Middle East news coverage remains the same; namely, that Israel attacked Gaza in self-defense.

    Though U.S. news coverage isn't as wholly sympathetic to Israel as it once was, the Israelis still managed to make their version of the story central to mainstream media coverage. Millions of Americans who know nothing else about the still ongoing conflict believe that the Israelis are "retaliating against Hamas rockets." What if those millions also knew the Israeli government ignores its own intelligence experts when they say Palestinian leaders are willing to make peace? That might change the entire picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict – and push Americans to push their government to push Israel to negotiate in good faith a peace deal with the Palestinians.

  45. Hunger strike in Parliament Square in solidarity with people of Gaza
    By: PeaceStrike on: 15.01.2009 [23:47 ] (36 reads)

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    Monday, January 12 2009

    Maria Gallastegui, founder of the Peace Strike, has started a hunger
    strike this morning in solidarity with the people of Gaza and to protest

    against the escalating military assault on the people of Gaza.

    Maria set up the Peace Strike in 2007 which urges people to go on
    'strike for peace' from their daily activities. She has since personally
    delivered over 400 daily petitions to No 10 Downing Street calling for
    peace and justice in the Middle East.

    Maria said, "I have food, drink, shelter, warmth, contact with my family

    and the rest of life's necessities whenever I need; the people of Gaza
    don't have these. They have almost no access to basic necessities and
    are living each day in dreadful fear for their lives and those of their
    families. I am starting this hunger strike in solidarity with the people

    of Gaza at this moment of extreme crisis. I urge everyone to go on
    strike for Gaza, take a day off work, come and join us on the Vigil for
    Gaza in Parliament Square or make a stand for Palestine where ever you
    are. Every single individual can make a difference."

    Come and join the vigil, support Maria and let parliamentarians know how

    you feel about what is happening in Gaza.

  46. After second rocket volley, Israel warns of war against Lebanon URGENT FALSE FLAG ALERT// ROGUE SAUDI FUNDED GROUP BEHIND THE MYSTERIOUS ROCKETS FROM LEBANON
    By: Rawstory//Roads to Iraq on: 19.01.2009 [01:19 ] (204 reads)
    Jan 11, 2009
    Saudi militia admits

    Saudi formed Shiite militia released a statement admits that he is behind the rockets fired from South Lebanon.

    Leader Mohammad Ali Al-Hasini is the author of the book “The Saudi Arabia positive role in Lebanon”.

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    Lebanese daily newspaper al-Nahar reported Friday the Israeli government has said it will bring war to Lebanon should there be a repeat of Wednesday's three rocket volley that landed on or short of Israel's northern border.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the attack carried out on the 19th day of a massive Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. The Lebanese government condemned the rocket salvo, insisting it would not allow the Gaza conflict to drag it into a new war with Israel.

    "This gives Israel an excuse to attack Lebanon," said Information Minister Tarek Mitri. "Someone is trying to drag Lebanon into a conflict and is moving rockets from one area to another."

    The "excuse" is one for which Israel is ready. In June 2008, Israeli forces participated in a wargame which simulated simultaneous fighting in Palestine and Lebanon.

    "The drill, codenamed 'Shiluv Zro'ot III' (Crossing Arms III), was the second largest of its kind since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006," reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

    "The exercise drilled the Israel Air Force and the Home Front Command in dealing with protocol and problem-solving missions under the simulated firing of thousands of rockets and missiles into the heart of Israel's population centers," wrote correspondent Amos Harel.

    "In addition to the Northern Command, the air force and the home front command, Crossing Arms involved the IDF Military Intelligence directorate and the general staff. Unlike headquarter-level exercises from the past, Crossing Arms entailed the deployment of troops on the ground, comprising mainly reservists.

    "Additionally, helicopter gunships and airplanes were sent on mock raids and evacuation missions. The aircraft did not fire live ammunition, according to army sources."

    Brink of war?

    "Tel Aviv had formerly notified the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that it was about to attack the country after the rocket attacks came but it had changed its mind upon international advice," said Iranian network Press TV, which carried the al-Nahar report.

    While the situation has not escalated, Israeli forces returned fire and troops have been called up to the border.
    June 2008 Israeli wargame simulated two-front war with Palestine, Lebanon

    "The Israel Police initially said that the rockets had struck open areas in Kiryat Shmona, but after combing the area concluded that two of the three rockets had actually exploded inside Lebanon," reported Haaretz. "There were no reports of damage or injuries. Residents of northern Israel were instructed to go into bomb shelters."

    The rockets were fired from the El-Hebbariyeh district, some two and a half miles from the border. Three more rockets which had been booby-trapped were later discovered by Lebanese and UN peacekeeping troops before being made safe.

    The Lebanese government also deployed special forces commandos to the border region to try to stop any further rocket fire.

    "'We don't want another war with Israel,' said Suhair Hammoud, a 36-year-old teacher,' in a Wall Street Journal report.

    Immediately after the rockets landed near the Lebanese border, Israel began sending telephone warnings through south Lebanon. Agence France-Presse received one such call.

    "Launching rockets from southern Lebanon against innocents in northern Israel harms your own interests ..." the wire service reported. "If you allow groups like Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to launch rockets against innocents in northern Israel as you did before, remember what happened to you last time."

    UN peacekeepers could not confirm that any rockets landed on Israeli territory, reported Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. However, they said, debris was found on the Lebanese side.

    But there are heightened fears that extremist groups operating in Lebanon could take advantage of the situation to launch attacks on Israel and analysts have said that last week's incident was likely to have been carried out with the militia's tacit approval.

    "Nothing happens in the south without Hezbollah's knowledge," said Osama Safa, head of the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies.

    Last week Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that "all possibilities" were open against Israel amid its deadly offensive in Gaza

    Mr. Al-Husseini of the Arab country. Net: We have a "missile Arabism"
    جماعة منافسة لحزب الله بلبنان تطلق "مقاومة" تضم 3 آلاف مقاتل
    Group to compete with Hezbollah in Lebanon called "resistance" of thousands of fighters 3

    The Secretary-General, "the Muslim Council of Arab" in Lebanon, Mr. Mohamed Al-Husseini, the launch of "Islamic and Arab resistance," which includes "more than 3 thousand Mujahid from various fields and development of military and civil defense," he said, to receive "more than a 1500 request from the association Arab Gulf States, since it was opened for volunteering. "

    وأكد الحسيني، في حديث لـ "العربية.نت"،أن المقاومة الجديدة "تملك من العدد والعتاد ما يسر الصديق والشقيق ويخوّف العدو"، متوعداً بالعديد من "المفاجآت، خصوصاً على صعيد السلاح كاشفاً عن ما أسماه "صاروخ العروبة"، وهو من إنتاج المقاومة وسيكون مميزاً". The al-Husseini, in an interview with "Arab. Net," that the resistance is the new "have the number and the equipment is a good friend and brother and frighten the enemy," and vowed to many of the "surprises, especially in the area of disarmament, pointing out what he called" missile Arabism ", a production the resistance will be distinct. "

    وجاء الإعلان عن الحركة الجديدة في بيان أصدره المجلس الإسلامي العربي، الأربعاء 7-1-2009، قال فيه إنها "ستكون رأس الحربة, وفي الخطوط الأمامية لمواجهة أعداءالعروبة, والمتربصين بها شرّاً, مؤكدين أن مقاومتنا هذه إسلامية عربية, وجدت للدفاع عن بلاد العرب. أساسها عربيّ, وأهدافها عربية, وقرارها عربيّ, ودعماً لمصالح الأمة العربية جمعاء, وستكون العين الساهرة على أمن أمتنا العربية". The announcement of the new movement in a statement issued by the Arab-Islamic Council, Wednesday, 7-1-2009, in which he said "It would be the spearhead, in the front lines of the face Oaadaouaerobp, predators, and the evil, stressing that the Islamic resistance of this Arab country, if any, to defend the country's Arabs. the basis of English, Arabic and objectives, and its English, and in support of the interests of all the Arab nation, and will be watchful eye on the security of the Arab nation. "

    وتتميز آراء المجلس بمنافسة حزب الله على الساحة اللبنانية بما فيها الانتخابات النيابية المقبلة، وتقديم أمينه العام كبديل عربي للسيد حسن نصرالله الذي يعتبره مدعوما من إيران، وفق هذه الآراء. The views of the Council are to compete with Hezbollah in Lebanon, including the upcoming parliamentary elections, the secretary general to provide an Arab alternative to Mr. Hassan Nasrallah, who is considered supported by Iran, according to these views.
    عودة للأعلى

    معسكرات تدريب Training camps

    السيد محمد الحسيني Mr. Mohammed Al-Husseini

    وأكد الحسيني أن هذه المقاومة "ليست ضد أي دولة بالمطلق، ولكن ضد كل من يريد أن يعتدي على الأمة العربية، وأنها أصبحت تنظيماً عسكرياً ولديها معسكرات تدريب في لبنان وسلاح كاف لمواجهة أي عدو، وقد تم الانتهاء من تدريب المجاهدين منذ أكثر من 3 اشهر" . Husseini stressed that the resistance was "not absolutely against any country, but against all those who want to assault on the Arab nation, and it has become organized and has a military training camps in Lebanon and the weapon is sufficient to counter any enemy, has been completed, the training of mujahideen for more than 3 months" .

    وعن مصدر السلاح والتمويل، أجاب: "السلاح موجود بكثرة في لبنان، أما التمويل فهو من قبل الأفراد وليس لأي دولة فيه مشاركة. فقرار المقاومة الإسلامية العربية قرار حر ولا يمنع من أن تدعم من قبل أي جهة عربية". And the source of the funding, he replied: "Disarmament is a lot in Lebanon, the funding is from individuals and not by any State participation. The decision of the Islamic Resistance Arab free decision does not preclude the fact that support from any quarter Arab."

    ولفت الحسيني من ناحية ثانية إلى أن لا مانع لدى المقاومة الإسلامية العربية من التنسيق مع حزب الله في حال تم الاعتداء على لبنان من "قبل العدو الإسرائيلي الذي هو العدو الأول للأمة العربية ". He noted al-Husseini, however, that no objection to the Islamic Resistance Arab coordination with Hezbollah in the event was the attack on Lebanon "by the Israeli enemy which is the first enemy of the Arab nation."

    وأكد ان المقاومة العربية الإسلامية مفتوحة لكل من يريد أن ينتسب إليها، من السنة والشيعة ومن كافة الدول العربية. He stressed that Arab and Islamic resistance are open to all those who want to belong to, the Sunnis and Shiites and all the Arab countries.

  47. IAEA urged to probe Israeli ammo
    Mon, 19 Jan 2009 20:48:31 GMT

    Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip during a 22-day war against the populated area
    Arab nations have called on the IAEA to launch an investigation into reports that Israel used depleted uranium ammunitions against Gaza.

    In a letter on behalf of Arab ambassadors accredited in Austria, Saudi Arabia's envoy to Vienna Prince Mansour Al-Saoud called on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to investigate traces of uranium that had been found in the victims of the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

    A final draft of the letter urged the IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei to "carry out a radiological and physical assessment in order to verify the presence of depleted uranium in the weaponry used by Israel ... in the Gaza Strip," The Associated Press reported Monday.

    We express "our deep concern regarding the information ... that traces of depleted uranium have been found in Palestinian victims," read the letter.

    In an earlier report, Norwegian medics told Press TV that some of the victims who have been wounded or killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies.

    At least 1,300 people, including more than 400 children, have been killed in Israel's three-week-long unilateral war against the costal strip.

    IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed that UN's nuclear watchdog has received the letter, saying a response might be issued later in the day.

    Regarding the uranium ammunition, an IAEA article read that "There is a risk of developing cancer from exposure to radiation emitted by ... depleted uranium. This risk is assumed to be proportional to the dose received."

    Israel had also been accused of using other banned arms including phosphorus bombs and cluster ammunitions against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.


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  48. EU, Egypt discuss stopping Hamas arms
    Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:27:23 GMT

    French Tourville Class Destroyers. France has advocated the idea of joining naval forces against Hamas' rearmament.
    Eu and Arab leaders gather to discuss the possibility of tasking a coalition naval armada with preventing the Palestinian Hamas' rearmament.

    On Sunday, EU heads joined the Israeli and Egyptian leadership in Sharm el-Sheik to canvass the measure based on Tel Aviv claims that the group receives smuggled weaponry via sea and the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt.

    “We must put an end to the arms traffic,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    “Several of our countries have proposed ... to make available to Israel and Egypt all the technical, diplomatic and military - notably naval - means to help stop weapons smuggling into Gaza.”

    The summit was convened a day after the unilateral declaration of truce by the Israeli forces who had been pounding the coastal area for 23 days. The raids killed 1,300 Palestinians wounding 5,300 others.

    Hamas stopped its retaliatory rocket attacks as a response making for a temporary bilateral cessation of hostilities.

    The attendees at the Egypt gathering described reconstructive relief work as the summit's main aim while discussing the likelihood of a more stable replacement for the shaky ceasefire.

    Cairo, who closed its Rafah border crossing with the strip to fleeing Palestinians during the war, remained insistent on its refusal to meet an Israeli demand by allowing the presence of international observers at the border post.

    Britain promised multiplying its aid convoys to the area and the United Nations said the body would assign a team to assess humanitarian needs.


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  49. 'Abbas spies passed intelligence to Israelis'
    Mon, 19 Jan 2009 19:29:20 GMT

    Prominent Hamas figure Salah al-Bardaweel accuses Mahmoud Abbas of direct involvement in the Gaza war through his spies in the region.

    Bardaweel said Monday that Abbas, the acting Palestinian Authority Chief, played key role in the war and in assassinating Hamas' senior political leaders, through his spies in the costal strip.

    The Hamas figure alleged that the spies passed strategic intelligence to Israeli soldiers attacking Gaza, The News reported.

    "We had arrested a number of them (Abbas' spies) prior to the Israeli assault, and we found with them plans showing homes of Hamas' leaders, and places where Hamas stores it weapons. They (the spies) have admitted their guilt and told us names of their masters, who would, in turn, inform the Israeli intelligence apparatuses of that information in order to facilitate the Israeli mission," Bardaweel added.

    The interior minister in the Hamas-led government, Saeed Siyam, was one of the most senior Hamas figures killed in Operation Cast Lead. Israeli warplanes also bombed the house of Nabil Amrin and Nizar Rayyan, two Hamas commanders in the costal sliver, killing them along with their family members.

    "This is a great honor for us, and it serves as clear-cut evidence that Hamas' leaders weren't hiding in underground bunkers as detractors of Hamas would like to portray, and that our leaders are sacrificing their lives with their people and Hamas was never defeated by losing leaders," said Bardaweel, "if one leader dies a 1000 leaders are ready to take his position."

    Speaking on the Egyptian initiative, Bardaweel added that Israel embraced defeat when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a unilateral seize fire, describing it as a victory for the resistance movement.

    Earlier in the day, democratically-elected Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, explained that Israeli incursion into Gaza was a failure for Tel Aviv that had originally described toppling Hamas as their main objective in the operations.

    However, Israeli officials later downgraded the objectives, saying they only sought to weaken the Hamas movement and end rocket attacks on their communities.

    Haniya suggested that since Israel failed to achieve its goals, it was therefore the Palestinians who were victorious for having been able to counter the Israeli aggression.

    Israel launched the aggression on December 27, in form of seaborne and airborne attacks and later expanded the invasion into a full-fledged ground inclusion on January 3.

    The onslaught left at least 1,300 Palestinians dead - including 411 children - and about 5,400 other wounded.

  50. Saturday, January 17, 2009 On balance: Evaluation of the Israeli festival of slaughter and butchery in Gaza
    By: The Angry Arab on: 18.01.2009 [18:05 ] (192 reads)

    From war to war (which is a title of a book by Nadav Safran), that is the context in which we need to evaluate our century-old conflict with Israel. You can't isolate each chapter or war or slaughter and analyze it without the larger context of the conflict. The press conference by the Israeli prime minister and his defense minister was remarkable: less triumphalist than usual, and certainly vague about goals and successes. Now we can evaluate the goals within the context of Israel's declared goals, and within the context of Israel's trategic plan. For somebody of my age, I can say this at first: that from 1948 until the 1990s, every Israeli military success more smashing the one before: the 1973 was a different story because it was the only Arab-Israeli war that was initiated by the Arab side (remarkable when you think about the propaganda of the "beleaguered Israel"), and it was bungled by the Egyptian (Nazi) dictator, Answar Sadat (Jimmy Carter's favorite personality and friend), and Israel (contrary to present-day Arab states' propaganda) wound up winning overall at the end. So Israel's strategic posture was predicated on intimdating

    1) the armies of the enemy;

    2) the population of the enemy. Israeli psychological warfare succeeeded for decades in convincing the enemy that Israel is way too mighty and way too invincible to be damaged by any military effort. Arab reached a mood of defeatism that permeated the political culture, and helped in securing the survival and propaganda of the ruling regimes. Israel's tactic was meant to discourage any political violence or even defense from the other side. You also need to compare to the times when Israel faced non-state actors: we have different episodes:from Al-Karamah battle in 1968 (a crucial watershed in fida'iyyin recruitment), to the various chapters of Israeli invasions of Lebanon culminating in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. I am quite familar and witnessed the responses to Israeli invasions of Lebanon. It is in that context that I find Gaza (under siege and cut off from the world with Egypt playing the role of the ally of Israel) to be an utter failure for the Israeli side. I never expected much from Hamas in terms of military effectiveness, and I think that the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi-Dahlan plan was based a low estimation of Hamas' miltiary effectiveness. In previous confrontations in the West Bank or in Lebanon in the 1980s, the Israeli military would bomb from the air for a day or two, and then advance swiftly. And that was exactly what happened in the invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 1982: now, the lack of stiff resistance back then had to do with many factors, including the lousy leadership of `Arafat (who cared about preserving his little empire more than about resistance and who is not dead enough as far as I am concerned, and may his grave deepen), the gap between people of the South and the resistance, and the financial regularization of the PLO's fighting force, and the psychological factor that often curtailed the ability of the fighting force, all helped the Israeli plan. True, there was stiff resistance in some places: like Rashidiyyah and `Ayn Al-Hilwah but it was sporadic and disorganized.

    Only in West Beirut, a strong fighting force was prepared and they were ready for a confrontation with Israel, and that is why Israel never invaded the city: it only waited until the evaculation of the fighters and then supervised the butchery of the women and children in the Sabra and Shatila camps--slaughter of women and children is a classic speciality of the Zionist forces even before the establishment of the state. But Hamas performed far better than the expectations of its enemies and even of its leadership in Syria and Lebanon. Israel would have succeeded if it achieved what it wanted: to achieve an unconditional surrender of Hamas. That was it used to get from Fatah in the West Bank: Arafat would negotiate the terms of his surrender with third-parties and that would be that (like in Bethlehem). Yet, Hamas defiance and the launching of rockets continued to the last day--in fact it continues as I write this from what I see on the screen. Hamas leaders did not leave as Fatah leaders and fitghters would (in the era under Arafat-Dahlan-Rajjub in the West Bank bantustan after Oslo), but continued in stiff resistance and defiance to the very last end.

    So Israel failed in 1) achieving a total surrender of Hamas; 2) in propping up the Dahlan-Abu Mazen gangs who are more discredited today than ever. Early in the campaign, Dahlan appeared on Al-Arabiyya and on Egyptian TV and was quite bombastic because he was expecting that the matter would be over in the first week. When that did not happen, he disappeared, and some say that he went back to Montenegro--his news base. 3) Israel failed in achieving a victory that it needed: a victory that would once and for all put to rest the humiliating defeat of Israel in 2006. Hamas new that its performance was exctremely influential in possibly dramtically altering the image of the Israeli soldiers in the eyes of all Arabs: fighters and lay people alike, and it knew that expectations were in building on the performance on Hizbullah in 2006; 4) Israel failed in creating a rift between the Paelstinian people and Hamas, just as it failed to create a rift between the population of the South and Hizbullah, its silly SMS messages notwithstanding; 5) Israel failed in putting an end to the rockets; 6) Israel failed in smashing Hamas; 7) Israel failed in creating a new pyschological climate in the Middle East: it was expected that Israel would use more massive and indiscriminate violence than before, and that it would try to "shock and awe" more than before because it wanted to kill the image of its humiliation in South Lebanon. That was not accomplished despite the high number of casualties among the civilians. 8) Israeli prime minister today bragged about intelligence successes: but that was inflated. It is true the killing of two Hamas leaders (along with tens of innocent civilians but that is how Israel "assassinates") was a success for Israel but there are other Hamas leaders. Plus, Israel policy of assuming that an organization would die by killing the leader has always been one of the many dumb Israeli misculations. The most recent case was in 1992 when Israeli terrorist leaders killed Abbas Musawi (and his family) and they got...Hasan Nasrallah instead. I have no doubt that they probably now regret killing Musawi. And Hamas now operates on the assumption that all leaders may die and they have most likely structured the organization on that assumption, unlike the centrally run, say, DFLP or Fatah under `Arafat. 9) Israel failed to build on the years-old Saudi policy of mobilizing Arab public opion against Iran, instead of Israel. That clearly failed miserably. If anything, Arab public opinion is more mobilized against Israel than any other time in memory. 10) Israel failed to sell its slaughter as a legitimate contribution to the "war on terrorism". Clearly, the scenes of carnage offended pubilic opinion around the wortld with the excepeption of the US and the UN embassy of Mironesia. But there are successes: if Israel was aiming to kill a very large number of women and children, that was achieved to a learge measure.

    Very knowledgeable sources in Beirut tell me that only 5% of Hamas' fighting abilities were damaged in this war thus far, and there will be another round no doubt. But think about Karamah battle. In Karamah: a lot of the lore was built by Arafat's bombast and a unit of the Jordanian army fought with the Palestinian resistance. This time around, Arab and particularly Palestinian public opinion will look with admiration at the performance of Hamas during this 22 days. It is commonly estimated that some 20,000 Palestinians vlunteered in the resistance movement after Karamah, and I expect a region-wide campaign of recruitment to the benefit of Hamas. Israel's choice of Palestinian leadership (supported by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt), i.e., Dahlan gangs, are discredited beyond repait. I mean, when I read in Saudi newspapers description of Dahlan as an Israeli stooge, you know how Palestinian opinion will regard him--and the fleeing of his men in their udnerwear did not help either. From 1968 to 1978, the Fatah movement transforemed from a band of fighters in Jordan to an army (badly run to be sure by Arafat) with all sorts of heavy weapons. There is now a point of no-return: Arabs are no more afraid of Israeli soldiers. From that loss, Israel shall never recover and it will expecited the inevitable process of the elimination of Zionism from Palestine. The confrontuation with Israel is cumulative, and this cumulation is now not in the interests of Israel. Many Arabs now talk about the defeat of Israel: I rarely heard those sentiments before 2006.
    Posted by As'ad at 2:20 PM

  51. Israel Doesn't Get 4GW

    by William S. Lind
    So far, Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip has produced no surprises. On the physical level of war, the IDF is triumphing. The Palestinians are suffering about one hundred people dead for every dead Israeli. To a 2GW military, which is what Israel's formerly Third Generation army has become, that is the main measure of victory.

    On the moral level, the picture is reversed. Hamas is almost assured of victory. As Martin van Creveld has observed, all it has to do to claim victory is survive, which it will. That claim will not just be propaganda: for Hamas to survive everything a modern state military can throw at it is a legitimate victory. In fact, it will not only survive but be strengthened by a worldwide flood of sympathy, which will translate in part into new recruits and more money.

    In the end, if Israel wants to stop Hamas' rockets, it will only be able to do so by making a deal with Hamas. Since that was equally true before the war, the question of why it was fought will soon present itself. The real reason is a tad sordid: the current Israeli government is trying to split the "get tough" vote to prevent Likud from winning the next election. The same motivation lay behind last weekend's "discovery" that Olmert asked the U.S. for permission to attack Iran. The parties in the current Israeli coalition government are in effect saying to Israeli voters, "Why vote for an oaf like Bibi Netanyahu when you can get the same thing from us without the endless embarrassments?"

    What all Israeli parties and the IDF seem to share is that they don't get 4GW. They have repeatedly been defeated by Fourth Generation forces, but they do not learn.

    The problem goes beyond John Boyd's framework of moral-mental-physical, with the moral the most powerful level of war and the physical the weakest. What Israel cannot grasp is that in the face of 4GW, all states should be seen as allies.

    The most dangerous opponent of any Fourth Generation entity is a local state. The state must be local: interventions against 4GW forces by outside states are doomed to failure. But local states can sometimes win. It does not matter whether the state in question is a democracy or not. It does not matter whether it is a friend or enemy of Israel. By its inherent nature as a state, it will view Fourth Generation forces as threats.

    A state may or may not be strong enough to suppress 4GW entities on its soil. It is in Israel's most vital interest that neighboring states be strong enough – morally as well as physically – to do so.

    In concrete terms, what does that suggest? First, it means Israel should be very concerned about the strength and solidity of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq (Lebanon is a state in name only). The Israeli assault on Gaza has seriously undermined the legitimacy of three of those four, with Syria the only exception. Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel, and Egypt has been an all-too-obvious partner of Israel in besieging Gaza. Iraq's government (still a government without a state) is an American creation, and the U.S. is seen as Israel's main enabler. On the moral level, every Israeli bomb dropped on Gaza has also landed on Cairo, Amman, and Baghdad.

    One Israeli party, Likud, is so oblivious to 4GW that its proposed grand strategy for Israel, largely written by American neocons, calls for the destruction of every Arab state. Iraq was the first victim of that strategy, thanks to the neocons' influence on the Bush administration. If Likud wins the coming Israeli elections, there is every reason to think it will put its strategy into practice, pushing Israel into the maelstrom.

    Israel's dependence on strong neighboring states is equally true with regard to the Palestinians. That means Israel needs a strong Palestinian state in the West Bank. But the effect of the war in Gaza is to undermine Fatah in favor of Hamas on the West Bank, which also has elections coming up. So Israel has in effect shot itself in both feet.

    What of Gaza itself? Here, Israel should have taken advantage of a blunder by Hamas. By winning an election in Gaza and then defeating Fatah in a short civil war, Hamas became a state. On balance, that was not to its benefit. Israel could and should have dealt with Hamas in Gaza as a state. It should have opened the border crossings, avoided raids (an Israeli raid into Gaza first broke what had been a fairly effective cease-fire), and let Hamas become immersed in all the problems of governance. It should have sought a Hamas state in Gaza that was strong enough to prevent rocket-firings and other acts of "terrorism" by other 4GW groups. As a state, Hamas would have gradually "normalized," even if it did not want to and even though in theory it would have remained devoted to Israel's destruction.

    Now, by its invasion, Israel may have reduced Gaza to ungovernable chaos. It may think it can reinstall Fatah as the government there. But if Fatah were so foolish as to try to ride into power on the backs of Israeli tanks, it would destroy its legitimacy both in Gaza and on the West Bank, with no hope of recovery.

    Ironically, the best hope Israel now has in Gaza is that when the dust settles, Hamas is still in charge. At that point, if Israel wants to stop the rocket fire, it will have to make a deal with Hamas. That deal should include what Israel ought have done in the first place, namely help Hamas make Gaza a functioning, gradually normalizing state. Again, Israel's most vital interest is that it be bordered by strong states, not the stateless chaos that is 4GW's natural breeding ground.

    I visited Israel a few years ago. I liked the country and its people. I wish Israel well. But wishing it well does not mean supporting it in actions that undermine its own security. Until Israel comes to think in 4GW terms, everything it does is likely to undermine its own security, as the assault on Gaza has undermined it.

    Can Israel learn? If not, apartment buildings in Miami will prove a great investment.

  52. Hamas documented Israeli war crimes
    Tue, 20 Jan 2009 11:24:09 GMT

    Hamdan said the movement will continue to resist Israeli occupation inside Palestinian territories.
    A senior Hamas member has announced that the movement has documented irrefutable proof of Israeli war crimes inside the Gaza Strip.

    "We will use that [proof] to build a case against the Israeli political and military leaders as a criminal crime," Osama Hamdan, Hamas' chief representative and senior leader in Lebanon told Press TV on Tuesday.

    Speaking from Beirut, Hamdan said a meeting of European and Arab lawyers will take place next week in which the means of convicting Israel for war crimes at The Hague will be discussed.

    Around 230 international lawyers have announced that they are set to file a lawsuit at the international Criminal Court against Israel for its policies in Gaza.

    A French lawyer working on the lawsuit, Jill Devier made the announcement at a Sunday night anti-Israel protest in Paris.

    More than 50 international lawyers and jurists are working on a dossier, which alleges that Israel has committed crimes against humanity in Gaza.

    Israel waged a 23-day war on the defenseless population of the Gaza Strip on December 27 to allegedly stop Hamas rockets from reaching Israel.

    Press TV correspondents on the ground in Gaza have received confirmation that at least 1340 Palestinians were killed and at least 5320 others were wounded during the conflict. The United Nations considers the figures credible.

    The onslaught has cost the Palestinian economy at least $1.6 billion with some 4,000 residential buildings having been reduced to rubble and 16,000 other houses becoming damages during the conflict.


  53. A shoe farewell for Bush
    Mon, 19 Jan 2009 23:27:20 GMT

    Shoes thrown by protesters outside the White House in Washington
    President Bush's last day in office faced with anti-war protesters, hurling shoes outside the gates of the White House to express their anger.

    About 500 people marched to the White House on Monday and threw about 40 pairs of shoes at the gate.

    Supporters said that they were acting in solidarity with Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in December.

    The event was sponsored by the Washington Peace Center, the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and other groups, AP reported.

    Organizer Jamilla El-Shafei said the event allowed protesters to express their anger over Bush, who she said is 'leaving with no accountability for eviscerating our constitution'.

    In the latest poll conducted by New York Times/CBS News poll last week, 73% of Americans disapproved of President George W. Bush's conduct.

    Only 22% of the surveyed individuals approved of his 8-year performance in the White House.

    The most unpopular president in US history, whose term ends on January 20, will leave behind a legacy of two costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a financial crisis for his successor Barack Obama.


  54. Ahmadinejad sends messages on Gaza
    Tue, 20 Jan 2009 10:05:09 GMT

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    Iran has sent letters to the governments that have supported Gaza the most -- Bolivia, Malaysia, Mauritania, Qatar and Venezuela.

    Israel's launch of Operation Cast lead in the densely-populated areas of the Gaza Strip prompted the Latin American nations of Venezuela and Bolivia to break diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv on January 14.

    "The gravity of the atrocities against the Palestinian people", according to Caracas, had earlier caused the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from the Venezuelan capital.

    Three days later Qatar and Mauritania also suspended economic and political ties with Israel, after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on all Arab nations to cut ties with Israel.

    "Severing economic ties with the Zionist regime and hosting the Arab League summit creatively lead the way in upholding human rights in the impoverished strip," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a letter to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

    In a separate letter the Iranian president described Mauritania's support for the people of Gaza as "the most beautiful manifestations of the soul of humanity."

    Bolivia's "revolutionary" move to severe ties with Tel Aviv was necessary to rid the region of the rein of Zionists, reads Ahmadinejad's letter to Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales.

    In his letter to Venezuela, the Iranian president said Hugo Chavez's "logical and praiseworthy" stance on "Israel's atrocities" in the Palestinian sliver of land will hasten "the restoration of the absolute rights of the Palestinian nation".

    In Malaysia, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia (PPIM) launched a nationwide campaign to urge Malaysians to boycott products made by Jewish companies.

    Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi had also called on the United Nations to immediately set up a war crimes tribunal to investigate and prosecute Israelis suspected of committing war crimes against Palestinians.

    In his letter to the Malaysian prime minister, Ahmadinejad said the world must move to restructure the UN Security Council in a way that peace and order can be ensured.

    Iran has repeatedly called for structural reform in the UN Security Council, arguing that the current veto system hinders the council's main function to maintain international peace and security.

    The United States has so far vetoed at least 45 anti-Israel resolutions at the UN and has blocked official condemnation of crimes committed against the native Palestinian population.

    Israel waged war on Gaza on December 27. The ensuing airstrikes and ground incursion left over 1,300 Palestinians -- at least 1100 of whom were civilians --dead and more than 5,400 others injured.


  55. From South Africa to Israel
    Time for a New Divestment Campaign

    Barack Obama’s inauguration coming as we celebrate of Martin Luther King Day predictably draws linkages between the two. Many use Obama’s election to claim a realization of the “dream.” Others mumble something about a post-racial America. I suspect that King, if alive, would reject such nonsense. Although when asked “who he thought King would support” in the 2008 primary campaign Obama made a good case for answering “Nobody,” it is possible that King may have supported Obama.

    King was a politician of sorts, although not so much at the time of his assassination. We love King now, but at the end of his life he wasn’t so popular. Younger activists criticized him and called him names such as “Da Lord” - mocking his once high place in civil rights politics. President Lyndon B. Johnson and a host of government officials, local and national, condemned him when he spoke out against the Vietnam War. King was not universally cheered when he marched, to his death, with the garbage workers in Memphis striking for fair wages and respect. Truth be told, he was jeered, even by some blacks.

    Sure, we love King now, but there was a time when people turned their back on him and his message.

    It has always been troubling to witness King’s mission and message reduced to “I have a dream” in the popular culture. It’s taught to kids in kindergarten, and they carry it with them all their lives. But all dreams are not equal. They can be interpreted in a number of ways. And some dreams are nightmares, or turn into nightmares for other people.

    Before it became a "quagmire" the war in Vietnam was a dream of the American political establishment. Exactly one year before his assassination, King, setting aside the grave danger it brought to him, challenged his government and broke with American imperial policy. At New York City's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, King linked the domestic exploitation of African Americans with "the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long."

    In his speech, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”, King said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal..," And, "I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government."

    King’s charge is just as true today as it was 40-plus years ago.

    America is still the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. Silence is still betrayal. But let’s take it a step beyond silence. Non-action is the other betrayal. Change isn’t just about an election in November and a celebration in January. It’s about doing something measurable to usher in a more peaceful world. Sure it’s good to change one’s perspective and way of looking at things. But the trick is to make your actions match what’s on your mind.

    There is an arc. People and events are linked on the arc.

  56. So, this year we should honor King in an active sense. We should commit ourselves to organize against the American policy of violence and empire. The anti-war movement should apply pressure on Obama to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. And, just as important, particularly amid the horror that has been visited on the people of Gaza; a broader peace movement must also build real economic and political pressure against Israel’s immoral and criminal acts against the Palestinians. This King Day should mark the beginning of an organized push for American divestment from Israel.

    When you think about it, US foreign policy toward Palestine has been a segregationist or apartheid policy. In his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, former President Jimmy Carter likened Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and its repression of Palestinian people, both within Israel and in the occupied territories, to the state of apartheid, which existed in South Africa prior to the early 1990s. Apartheid means ‘separateness.’ And there is little debate that Zionism, the official ideology of Israel, is predicated on religious and ethnic separation or segregation. A self-described Jewish state -- that is, a state that operates of, by and on behalf of a single group of people -- cannot also be a secular, democratic state where persons of all religious and ethnic backgrounds are treated equally. A Jewish state that has never declared its borders, that has annexed and occupied territories, flouting international law and subjecting the indigenous population to poverty, indignity, theft, torture and death, is not only a colonialist outlaw state; it is also racist. As one Palestinian gentleman remarked to me, “While blacks in America were once considered subhuman, Palestinians are not considered humans at all."

    And Israel could not have pursued any of these policies without the steadfast financial and political support of the United States. It is no secret that Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world. It receives more than $15 million every day from the United States, or $30 billion a year by most estimates. The F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters that have dropped hundreds of tons of bombs and missiles on Gaza are made in the United States and provided to the Israeli government. Every American taxpayer underwrites Israeli-style apartheid.

    Divestment may be at odds with the position of many elected black leaders (the Congressional Black Caucus included), but it’s not at odds with what King spoke of and died for. It is not at odds with those he championed. He championed the locked out and oppressed.

    Throughout my life, black politics has lined up with oppressed people in other nations. Malcolm X stood with Fidel Castro and the Cuban people following the 1958 ouster of US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, and with him the organized crime and American corporatist mobsters who exploited the Cuban people. Harlemites greeted Castro with affection as they gathered to welcome him during his stay at the Hotel Theresa in 1960 because he wanted to be “among the workers.”

    Muhammad Ali is a “national treasure” now. But he wasn’t when he dropped the name Cassius Clay and said “Ain’t no Vietnamese ever called me nigger.”

    Americans love Nelson Mandela, now. But he was a “terrorist” while he was heading "Spear of the Nation” – the armed wing of the African National Congress. That’s why he was locked up at Robben Island. Mandela’s name was only recently – during the 2nd part of the Bush Administration - removed from the State Department’s “terrorists list.” In the days of Ronald Reagan it was America and Israel that supported South Africa when the rest of the world said “enough.”

    But black Americans remembered the hundreds of kids who died in Sharpesville Massacre in the 60s. We were in solidarity with those who took part in the Soweto uprising of 1976. We cried and protested when the South African police killed Steve Biko in 1977.

  57. What’s happening in Palestine is not fundamentally different from what occurred in apartheid South Africa. Kids are being killed. People have been herded into the (more deadly) equivalent of bantustans. Political leaders are targeted for assassination. Most recently Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam was killed along with nine others, when Israeli warplanes bombed a home in the Jabalya refugee camp.

    Israel’s behavior demands the same response from the world human rights community as was mustered against South Africa.

    The facts are clear. The citizens of Gaza live in a virtual prison. They are surrounded by water, walls, fences and watch/gun towers.

    In the latest assault, at least 1,133 Palestinians have been killed, including 346 children and 105 women; at least 5,200 have been injured. People talk about "suffering on both sides," but there is no proportion in weaponry or force, which is why 100 Palestinians have died for every one Israeli.

    The Palestinian people live under Israel’s apartheid blockade where even humanitarian aid is not allowed through – where citizens can get food, medicine and even goats, in addition to guns and weapons, only through tunnels.

    Not just in Gaza but throughout all the occupied territories, Palestinian water rights along with their land and human rights have been stolen. Fundamentalist Jewish immigrants from Brooklyn have automatic citizenship and automatic civil and property rights, while the indigenous Palestinians lose and lose some more. Most often, it is Palestinian land that the migrants have settled on, with the blessings of Israel and the financial support of the United States via the Israeli government – in the face of international and United Nations' resolutions against such settlements. It is Palestinian land, stolen for Israeli settlements, that the Palestinians have been firing mortars onto; Palestinian land that is bisected by Israeli-only roads and a wall that exceeds the Berlin Wall in size and cruelty. (No German had his farm or homestead cut in two by the wall.) They are Palestinian orchards that have been bulldozed; Palestinian homes that have been demolished; and American-made bulldozers that have done the job. A Caterpillar bulldozer crushed 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie to death when she stood in front of a doctor's house in Gaza trying to prevent its demolition on March 16, 2003. And the same bulldozers have taken everything from Palestinian families year after year for decades.

    Throughout the latest assault on Gaza, those blindly supportive of Israel raise a straw man argument asking, “Who struck the blow?” Or, “Fired the first shot?” Or, “Launched the first mortar.” Their answer to the question is almost always certain to be, "Hamas." Before the days Hamas came to power, the same straw man was raised and knocked down as the answer back then was sure to be, “Fatah” - led by PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

  58. Supporters of Israel never mention the blockade on Gaza or political assassinations or the wall or the poverty and despair. Instead, they label Hamas or anyone opposing occupation as “terrorists” and lamely apologize for the civilians killed calling them “collateral damage,” or they claim that the women and children killed in the school or hospital or UN facilities were “being used as human shield.” No one calls the Jewish settlers human shields, though their incursions into occupied territory has been both a provocation and an excuse since 1967.

    Just take a look at a map of the territory lost by the Palestinian people since 1948 and at an inexorable pace since 1967. Then answer the question, “Who stuck the first blow?”

    Throughout the latest attack on the Palestinian people I have heard a few people openly make the bloodthirsty suggestion that “they (the Israelis) should kill them all.” But the most common thing one hears is something similar to what Obama said on a visit to Israel in the summer 2008 that "If somebody shot rockets at my house where my two daughters were sleeping at night, I'd do everything in my power to stop them.” The new president’s comment was one of the first things that came out the mouths of various spokespersons for the Israeli government as the Christmastime onslaught on Gaza began. But what of the Israeli rockets and bombs and bullets and bulldozers that for years have hit the homes where Palestinian children were sleeping?

    Now Israel has called a cease fire in Gaza, if only for a moment. Still, we must organize and protest in an effective way beyond the moment. We have our work cut out for us. The Palestinians have few friends in high places. By a vote of 404-1 the House recently signaled its support for Israel’s apartheid regime and literally condemned the Palestinians right of self-defense. The only member of Congress to take a stand with the Palestinians was and is Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich.

    On the campaign trail at a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama declared himself a “Zionist,” and upon being elected chose Rahm Emanuel, a dual citizen of the US and Israel, as his chief of staff. The Israeli paper Ha'aretz (6 Nov. 2008) said it all: Obama's first pick: Israeli Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff. Some say that Emanuel “has a track record on Israel well to the right of George Bush.” This includes signing a 2003 letter justifying Israel’s policy of political assassinations and criticizing George Bush for not supporting Israel enough. Emanuel backed a resolution supporting Israel's bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006 and he called on the US government to cancel a planned speech to Congress by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki because he had condemned Israel’s actions in Lebanon.

    As president, where will Obama stand? More important, what is the moral stand, and what must we do to press the government to take it?

  59. First, we must see Israel with the same eyes as we saw South Africa in the apartheid years – as a racist nation deserving of international isolation and sanctions. Second, we must demand that the United States end its $30 billion a year military support to the country. Third, we should organize, confront and demand that public bodies such as universities, local and state governments divest their portfolios from companies that do business in or with Israel. Fourth, we should identify and boycott those companies that do business with and in Israel. Fifth, we should call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and boycott those artists who perform in the country.

    As for the new president we should continue to pressure him (1) to establish a fair involvement with the disputing parties, recognizing their equal humanity, not take the one-sided, Israel-first position of his predecessors; (2) to pressure the Israeli government to allow unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip; (3) to call for an investigation into Israel's misuse of U.S. weapons, to include the use of white phosphorous and urge the UN weapons inspectors to determine if Israel is using depleted uranium-tipped missiles on the Palestinians. This would be a first step toward ending arms transfers to Israel.

    All people have a right to exist – Jews and Palestinians. The way to peace is for each side to respect the other's right to live.

    But America must be a fair player in what is now a continual catastrophe with our country on the wrong side of history. We must remember that “where you spend your money is a political act.” Putting pressure on business and government is a means to force change. By “getting in their pockets” we can say no to the violence. We can say, “Not in our names.” That’s what I think Dr. King would say and do at a time like this.

    Almost 40 years ago, Martin Luther King warned that "the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated." Those "triple evils" of racism, economic injustice and militarism are what we must fight – the dream of King’s was the defeat of the “triple evils.”

    As we celebrate his day, let’s do it in solidarity with the dispossessed. As Vice-President Joe Biden was saying his farewell to the Senate he quoted King saying, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” I believe Biden is right as King was right. But there’s a strong magnetic pull that has the needle still pointed on injustice. The injustice of being the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” We can help move the needle toward just by insisting that our country sees a Palestinian life having as much value as an Israeli life.

    Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina. His book, Waiting for Lightning to Strike, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at:

  60. The Boss Has Gone Mad

    WHEN THERE is a ceasefire, the first question will be: Who won?

    In Israel, all the talk is about the “picture of victory” – not victory itself, but the “picture”. That is essential, in order to convince the Israeli public that the whole business has been worthwhile. At this moment, all the thousands of media people, to the very last one, have been mobilized to paint such a “picture”. The other side, of course, will paint a different one.

    The Israeli leaders will boast of two “achievements”: the end of the rockets and the sealing of the Gaza-Egypt border (the co-called “Philadelphi route”. Dubious achievements: the launching of the Qassams could have been prevented without a murderous war, if our government had been ready to negotiate with Hamas after they won the Palestinian elections. The tunnels under the Egyptian border would not have been dug in the first place, if our government had not imposed the deadly blockade on the Strip.

    But the main achievement of the war planners lies in the very barbarity of their plan: the atrocities will have, in their view, a deterrent effect that will hold for a long time.

    Hamas, on the other side, will assert that their survival in the face of the mighty Israeli war machine, a tiny David against a giant Goliath, is by itself a huge victory. According to the classic military definition, the winner in a battle is the army that remains on the battlefield when it’s over. Hamas remains. The Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip still stands, in spite of all the efforts to eliminate it. That is a significant achievement.

    Hamas will also point out that the Israeli army was not eager to enter the Palestinian towns, in which their fighters were entrenched. And indeed: the army told the government that the conquest of Gaza city could cost the lives of about 200 soldiers, and no politician was ready for that on the eve of elections.

    The very fact that a guerrilla force of a few thousand lightly armed fighters held out for long weeks against one of the world’s mightiest armies with enormous firepower, will look to millions of Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims, and not only to them, like an unqualified victory.

    In the end, an agreement will be concluded that will include the obvious terms. No country can tolerate its inhabitants being exposed to rocket fire from beyond the border, and no population can tolerate a choking blockade. Therefore (1) Hamas will have to give up the launching of missiles, (2) Israel will have to open wide the crossings between the Gaza Strip and the outside world, and (3) the entry of arms into the Strip will be stopped (as far as possible), as demanded by Israel. All this could have happened without war, if our government had not boycotted Hamas.

    * * *

    HOWEVER, THE worst results of this war are still invisible and will make themselves felt only in years to come: Israel has imprinted on world consciousness a terrible image of itself. Billions of people have seen us as a blood-dripping monster. They will never again see Israel as a state that seeks justice, progress and peace. The American Declaration of Independence speaks with approval of “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. That is a wise principle.

    Even worse is the impact on hundreds of millions of Arabs around us: not only will they see the Hamas fighters as the heroes of the Arab nation, but they will also see their own regimes in their nakedness: cringing, ignominious, corrupt and treacherous.

    The Arab defeat in the 1948 war brought in its wake the fall of almost all the existing Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of nationalist leaders, exemplified by Gamal Abd-al-Nasser. The 2009 war may bring about the fall of the current crop of Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of leaders – Islamic fundamentalists who hate Israel and all the West..

    In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness. The boss has indeed gone mad – in the original sense of the word.

    Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

  61. OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israel's channel 10 TV admitted Monday that Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was able during the current war on the Gaza Strip to take an Israeli soldier prisoner, but he was killed along with his captors by Israeli fire.

    The channel quoted Israeli military officers as saying that Al-Qassam Brigades captured an Israeli soldier during the fighting in Gaza, but an Israeli force intervened which led to the killing of the soldier.

    This information agrees with Al-Qassam spokesman Abu Obeida's statements yesterday which confirmed that the Brigades managed to capture a number of Israeli soldiers, but they were killed deliberately along with the captors by the IOF troops.

    The Israeli commander of the Givati military unit acknowledged the ferocity of the fighting in Gaza, pointing out that Al-Qassam Brigades turned the Strip into a "powder keg".

    Israeli press sources reported that Israel takes seriously the threats to file war crimes charges against it with the international criminal court and has embarked on preparing defense petitions and gathering information and evidence on the mass killing of Palestinians and the destruction of homes and buildings in order to use them in the defense of its officials.

    The sources said Monday that the Israeli government issued instructions to its military officers and political leaders to refer to the military prosecutor before traveling outside the country and noted that it might prevent some people from traveling for fear of arrest against the backdrop of war crimes in a number of European countries which have laws allowing the filing of such charges.

    The Israeli defense would be focused primarily on claiming that the houses and buildings which were bombed were used as stores of weapons and firing positions.

    Israeli political sources considered that the visit of European officials and leaders to Israel on Sunday and their speeches that justified the war on "terrorism" would help Israel in its legal struggle.

    The sources added that Israel would stress that it waged its war on Gaza in self-defense and that it made great efforts to warn Gaza people through dropping leaflets and sending phone messages.

  62. Morocco: Hackers target Israeli websites to protest over Gaza

    Rabat, 16 Jan. (AKI) – (By Hamza Boccolini) - A group of Moroccan computer hackers have united in an aggressive campaign of internet piracy in a bid to influence Israeli public opinion in relation to the country's three week military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The group, known as Marocco Snipers, includes dozens of technology experts from the North African country.

    According to local media, these Moroccan hackers have entered at least 80 Israeli sites in the past few days, blocking their servers and changing their home pages.

    There are many important sites that belong to the country's institutions and companies. Several of these sites have been destroyed, while others have only been modified.

    In one incident, they published a series of photos that depict Gaza children who were injured in Israeli bomb attacks to show Israelis what was happening in the coastal territory and push them to intervene to stop the air raids.

    The only limit on the activities on the Moroccan Internet pirates are local laws that provide for the punishment of technological pirates and threaten sanctions for anyone who is identified as a hacker.

    However, the country's Ulema or Muslim scholars, who have called the Internet activity 'electronic jihad', have given their blessing saying it is legal on the basis of Sharia law.

    Sheikh Bin Salim Bahsha, member of the Moroccan Ulema Council, said the hackers activities was " a real jihad" that had the organisation's blessing.

    Another important Moroccan imam, Abu Zaid, also said the action was justified.

    "It is true there are laws that ban hacking and prohibit attacks on Internet sites, but they find themselves in a war situation against Israel and it's the right of Muslims to use every means, legal or illegal, to respond to the enemy," he said.

    Communications expert, Yahya al-Yahawi, fears that the Moroccan Snipers may be identified and arrested by police once there is an end to the Gaza conflict.

    "Their attacks can potentially strike sites that are also considered sensitive for security and the national economy," he said.

    "If they were identified and sent for justice, in the absence of a specific hacking law, they risk five years in prison based on article 124 of the penal code."

    Morocco's King Mohammed VI said on Thursday he would not attend Arab summits on Israel's offensive in Gaza because they would not do much to help the Palestinian people.

    However since the Israeli military offensive began on 27 December, Moroccans have staged several demonstrations and raised funds for Palestinians affected by military attacks.

  63. Hamas: Our Arsenal of Rockets Has Not Been Affected
    By: Hanan Awarekeh on: 19.01.2009 [14:42 ] (422 reads)

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    Hanan Awarekeh

    19/01/2009 Hamas vowed on Monday to rearm in defiance of any Israeli and international efforts to prevent the Islamic resistance group from replenishing its arsenal of rockets and other weapons after the Gaza war.

    "Do whatever you want. Manufacturing the holy weapons is our mission and we know how to acquire weapons," Abu Obaida, a spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, told a news conference.

    Addressing journalists with his face masked by a checkered Arab scarf, he said that only 48 Hamas resistance fighters were martyred in the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Abu Obaida also said that Israel lost "at least 80 soldiers" in the fighting; however the Zionist entity has adopted the media blackout policy concerning its losses there.

    Palestinians report that at least 1,300 people were killed in the Strip in the past three weeks, including 420 children.

    Abu Obaida went on to say that "all options would be open" if Israel failed to pull its occupation troops out of the Gaza Strip within a week, a demand raised by Hamas when it announced on Sunday a ceasefire after three weeks of fighting. "We have given the Zionist enemy one week to pull out of the Gaza Strip, failing which we will pursue the resistance."

    The Islamic resistance movement's capacity to fire rockets into the occupied territories had not been reduced, he added. One of Israel's main aims during the offensive was to stop rocket attacks. "Our arsenal of rockets has not been affected and we continued to fire them during the war without interruption. We are still able to launch them and, thanks be to God, our rockets will strike other targets," in the Zionist entity, he said.

    Israel had failed to achieve "any of the objectives it had set for the war .. and only killed hundreds of children, women and old people." "The main aim of the war was to destroy Hamas and this resulted in crushing failure," Hamas' armed wing’s spokesman said. "What we lost during this war in terms of military capability is small and we managed to compensate for most of it even before the war ended."

    Israel, which has declared unilateral ceasefire, has threatened to renew military action if Hamas tries to smuggle more weapons into the Gaza Strip. Israel wants Egypt to prevent arms from reaching Palestinian resistance fighters through tunnels running under the border with the Gaza Strip.

    On Friday, Israel signed a security accord with the United States that calls for increased information-sharing, technical assistance and the use of various US "assets" to prevent weapons from getting to Hamas from air, land or sea.

  64. Gaza: The Beginning of the End of Israel?
    By: Alex Whisson on: 20.01.2009 [18:43 ] (443 reads)

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    16:13 01/19/2009

    There is a global call to begin a campaign of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions. (EPA)

    By Alex Whisson

    Through its criminal actions of the past three weeks, Israel must surely have succeeded only in digging its own grave. And no decent-minded person will shed a tear at its funeral.

    It’s truly astonishing the way it only takes a handful of five-second ‘soundbites’ to reduce a complex story of injustice to a monstrous lie, but that is precisely what the leaders of the Israeli state and apologists for its cause have been doing - very effectively one must say - for the last sixty years.

    Empty platitudes and bald assertions by pro-Israel propagandists have dominated what passes for debate on the conflict for far too long. Some of the claims made by Tel Aviv and its virtual army of court scribes, often mistakenly referred to as journalists, are so utterly preposterous they wouldn’t look out of place in a Monty Python sketch if they weren’t so deadly serious. Take for instance the endlessly repeated mantra that Israel, a nuclear-armed state bristling with F-16’s, Merkava tanks and Apache helicopter gunships, must defend itself from the existential threat posed by home-made rockets that carry 4 kilograms of explosives and are in fact little more than glorified firecrackers. Claims such as these, the balsa wood struts that hold together the Potemkin village image Israel presents to the world, are now beginning to collapse before our eyes.

    Thanks to the wanton cruelty and utter barbarity of Operation Cast Lead, Tel Aviv has done the supporters of justice and democracy worldwide an enormous favour. At the horrible cost of over 1000 lives and counting, including at least 400 children, the ugly reality of the Zionist project, so long concealed from the eyes of the non-Arab world, has been exposed for all who care to look. Even the International Committee of the Red Cross has condemned Israel’s brutality in a series of extraordinary and totally unprecedented statements. The President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann has described Israel’s assault on Gaza as “genocidal.”

    When a state deploys the fourth most powerful army in the world against a civilian population and murders hundreds of children, in some cases via the criminal use of white phosphorous as an anti-personnel weapon, when the same state defies a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate halt to the slaughter - to go alongside its rejection of literally dozens of other UN resolutions throughout its blood-soaked sixty year history – then the obvious question hitherto unutterable in polite Western discourse raises its head; does Israel have a right to exist? The increasingly vociferous and unequivocal answer from tens of millions of people across the world is a decided: “No, of course it does not!” How could any state founded upon multiple wars of aggression and systematic ethnic cleansing, and which is defined in its Basic Laws as a racially exclusionary nation, be said to have a right to exist?

    All of a sudden, people are realising the absurdity of the charge of anti-Semitism thrown at them if they so much as question Israel’s actions. Were people similarly accused of anti-Boer sentiment when they marched in their thousands against the apartheid regime in South Africa? Part of the problem of course lies in the identification of the state of Israel with the Jewish people. There are three points to raise in this context. First of all, those who remember their high school social science classes would remember a state is not a people; it is in fact a legal, military, economic and administrative unit that governs a particular area on behalf of its citizens (or at least ostensibly on behalf of its citizens). Secondly, who is that endlessly repeats the ridiculous assertion that Palestine was, is and will always be the God-given homeland of the Jewish people? The question of course answers itself: Israel and its apologists. Finally, millions of Jewish people throughout the world and in Israel itself, while in many cases not convinced the state of Israel needs to be dismantled in the same way apartheid South Africa was dismantled, nevertheless are increasingly raising their voices against the criminal actions being carried out in their name.

    There are literally hundreds of incidents one could cite that demonstrate beyond even the merest shadow of a doubt the armed forces of Israel are wantonly targeting civilians in this war. Even the most cursory examination of the long list of schools, mosques, apartment blocks, markets, houses, ambulances and factories destroyed by Tel Aviv will persuade those still unsure of the reality which lies beneath the mountain of lies being told by Israel about the Gaza War. The whole story cannot be told in the confines of this article. Suffice it to say that, not satisfied with the outcome of their criminal and medieval blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Olmert regime set about initiating a well-planned military operation as a means of bringing to fruition Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai’s promise to unleash a “Shoah” on the Palestinians. Spot the irony here: supporters of the Palestinians are accused of insensitivity to the victims of the Judeocide when they make comparisons between Palestinian suffering and the Holocaust. Here we have a serving minister of the Israeli government determined to make such a comparison legitimate.

    Who knows, given the extreme barbarism of the operation to date, and assuming Cast Lead fails in its objective of annihilating resistance to the Israeli annexation and occupation of Palestinian land, perhaps Olmert will next be inspired by the words of Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu and former deputy Prime Minister, who recently made a thinly-veiled reference to the idea of attacking Gaza with nuclear weapons when he said: “We must continue to fight Hams just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II.”

    One of the concrete outcomes of this conflict must be the immediate launching of a thorough and systematic investigation of all of the incidents of mass murder that have taken place since December 27th 2008. Such an investigation must be conducted under the auspices of the International Criminal Court with a view to indicting and prosecuting Ehud Olmert and the whole of his cabinet for instigating a war of aggression, the supreme war crime under the principles of international humanitarian law established at the
    Nuremberg tribunals.

    Another outcome of this war must be the redoubling of our efforts to diplomatically isolate Israel from the rest of the world. That is why for instance the Palestine solidarity movement in Australia is calling for the expulsion of Tel Aviv’s diplomatic mission and the immediate severing of all political, cultural and economic ties with Israel.

    There is also a renewed call throughout the world to emulate the example set by the London-based Palestine Solidarity Committee and begin a campaign of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions. A good starting point would be the blacklisting of all those companies and institutions sponsoring the various Australia-Israel chambers of commerce that operate in each state and territory. People all around the world are working on similar initiatives in their own countries.

    The movement in solidarity with Palestine is starting to have the flavour of the great anti-apartheid movement that swept up into its fold millions of people across the Western world. Eventually that movement was victorious. Let us hope and pray the friends of Palestine all around the world can begin the process of building a similar movement that will one day help create a just, democratic and fair solution for all of the people living in Palestine.

    - Alex Whisson is a postgraduate student of History at the University of Western Australia, a producer and presenter of a community radio program and the convener of Friends of Palestine WA. He contributed this article to

  65. Israel Officers Warned Not to Travel To Europe (Fear Of War-Crime Arrest)
    By: The World Is Watching, UK Indymedia on: 20.01.2009 [23:53 ] (145 reads)

    20.01.2009 23:28 | Anti-militarism | Cambridge | Oxford

    Travel advisory issued for top IDF officers

    State expresses concern over international human rights groups' intention to file war crimes charges against military personnel with The Hague, local European courts; says officers planning to travel must contact Judge Advocate General's Office first

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    High Israeli Officials have been warned not to travel to the UK or Europe for fear of being arrested for War Crimes in Gaza.

    IDF officers intending to travel to Europe, whether for business or pleasure, have been advised to contact the Judge Advocate General's Office prior to leaving Israel; and some may be instructed not to leave the country.

    The advisory has been issued following Israel's concern that international arrest warrants may be issued against officers who were involved in the Israeli offensive in Gaza, on charges of war crimes.

    Mazuz: Israel bracing for slew of lawsuits over Gaza op / Aviad Glickman

    Attorney general says legal system preparing for wave of international lawsuits over Israeli offensive in Gaza; adds Judge Advocate General involved in every operational decision

    Jerusalem has reportedly received several reports suggesting international human rights groups are in the process of gathering evidence in the form of photos and testimonials, with the intent of filing suits both with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and in local European courts.

    While the State is likely to be able to thwart such attempts in The Hague, having suits of this nature filed with local European courts quashed is more complex: Many of the European courts have taken it upon themselves to hear cases of alleged war crimes perpetrated in other countries, even if they themselves have no affinity to the case.

    Once a European court decides to hear such a case, it is within its right to issue bench warrants for the alleged criminals – in this case top politicians and military personnel – and that is a move the State might find difficult to undo.

    "As far as the international arena is concerned, Israel is entering what is probably its darkest era," a Jerusalem source told Yedioth Ahronoth. "The Palestinian and their friends will try to make Israel look like a leper, like China looked after the Tiananmen Square massacre (of 1989), or like Serbia did under (former President Slobodan) Milosevic.

    "They intend of mounting a legal front against IDF officers, ministers, Knesset members and Israeli diplomats. They will go after them with arrest warrants all over the world."

    According to political sources, the situation may take another turn for the worst after the foreign media will be allowed back into Gaza Strip, and the devastation in Gaza becomes more evident.

    The Israelis claim that Hamas has been using women and children as human shields never really took, said a source. Whenever it was used the response was the same: If you know that there a women and children there – hold your fire.


  66. Israel 'can be tried for war crimes': Amnesty International
    By: stоpwar on: 21.01.2009 [00:27 ] (145 reads)

    Tue, 20 Jan 2009 07:03:49 GMT

    Amnesty International says the streets and alleyways of densely-populated Gaza are littered with evidence of indiscriminate Israeli usage of incendiary weapons.

    Article 2: Protection of civilians and civilian objects (UN 4th Geneva Convention)
    1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons.
    2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.
    3. It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

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    Human rights group Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza was indiscriminate.

    "Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighborhoods is inherently indiscriminate," Donatella Rovera, a Middle East researcher with Amnesty International, said in a statement on Monday.

    "Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," she charged.

    The statement was released after British weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith found widespread evidence of the use of the incendiary material in an on-the-ground study on Sunday.

    "We saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army," he said in a statement.

    "It is highly incendiary, air burst and its spread effect is such that it should never be used on civilian areas," he explained.

    While international law permits the use of white phosphorus as an obscurant to conceal troop movement and prevent the enemy from using certain guided weapons, its use remains controversial, as white phosphorous can burn through flesh to the bone or cause liver, kidney, heart, lung or bone damage and even lead to death.

    Amnesty is not the first group to accuse Israel of using white phosphorus during its three-week onslaught on Gaza — Human Rights Watch and the United Nations are also among the international bodies that charged the Israeli army with using such munitions.

    Israel's shelling of the UN Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza on Jan 15 left the UN compound among the places worst-affected by the use of the controversial chemical, Amnesty said.

    The attack plunged Israel's relations with the world body to a new low with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding an investigation into the shelling.

    According to medical experts, white phosphorus — also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete - is not the only controversial weapon used against Gazans.

    After working for 10 days at the Shifa Hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory, Doctors Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse — members of a Norwegian triage medical team in Gaza — said the Palestinian territory is now being used by Israel "as a test laboratory for new weapons."

    The Norwegian doctors said the kinds of injuries they had witnessed proved that Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) was being used in the embattled territory.

    Survivors close to the lethal range of the DIME weapon may have their limbs amputated as their soft tissues and bones are shredded to pieces. The victims may also subsequently contract cancer from the micro-shrapnel embedded in their body tissue within just four to six months.

    Statistics released by the Palestinian bureau of statistics further prove the humanitarian crisis in the region, as it shows that some 4,100 homes were totally destroyed and 17,000 others damaged in the three-week war.

    After 22 days of intense Israeli military operations in Gaza, and the death of nearly 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, Tel Aviv declared a unilateral ceasefire late Saturday, but added that its forces would remain in place for the time being.

    Hamas later on Sunday announced a ceasefire in Gaza and gave Israel a one-week ultimatum to completely withdraw its troops from the Palestinian territory.

    Analysts believe the Israeli military operation has imperiled the so-called two-state solution of the Middle East peace process.


  67. Tue, 20 Jan 2009 22:08:55 GMT

    An Israeli military officer has been arrested for refusing to kill Palestinians in the three-week offensive against Gaza.

    Israel arrested Noam Livne in his home in Tel Aviv on Monday.

    Livne cited ethical reasons for his objection to the war against civilians, saying that the army's top brass would not accept his reasons.

    This is the second time that Livne disobeyed the army. In 2001, he refused to go to war and was sent to prison.

    "This will be the second time that I am being brought in," he told Vita magazine a few hours before his arrest.

    "It happened before, eight years ago, when I said 'no' for the first time," he added.

    Tel Aviv launched a ruthless military campaign against the Gaza Strip on December 27 with the aim of eliminating Hamas, the democratically-elected ruling party of the coastal region.

    At least 1,340 Palestinians were killed and 5,320 others were wounded during the conflict, according to Press TV correspondents in Gaza.


  68. Norman Finkelstein: Israel is a Satanic state
    By: today's zaman on: 20.01.2009 [09:54 ] (610 reads)

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    American Jewish Professor Norman Finkelstein has heavily criticized Israel over its operation in Gaza. A son of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein has been barred from Israel for 10 years and was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago because of his critical stance on Israeli policies.

    According to Finkelstein, Israel, a state built on the ashes of the Holocaust, is now committing a holocaust against Palestinians in Gaza. In a telephone interview with "Today's Zaman," Finkelstein said Israel was a "terrorist state" created by the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Praising Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish people for their courage in supporting Palestinians, Finkelstein referred to Israel as a "satanic" and "lunatic" state. Finkelstein's parents survived the Nazi camps in World War II and then immigrated to the US.

    After his book “The Holocaust Industry,” in which he accused many prominent Jewish leaders of abusing the victims of the Holocaust, was published, Finkelstein was almost declared persona non grata by America’s influential Zionist circles.

    What does Israel want to achieve with this operation?

    Basically, Israel wants to achieve two goals: to restore what it calls its deterrence capacity — that means to spread fear among Arab states about itself. This is a core principle of Israeli strategic doctrine. Arab states have to be afraid of Israel, afraid of its military might, and Arabs should do what Israelis want. They shall follow Israeli orders.

    Israel’s military deterrence suffered a setback in May 2000, when Hezbullah succeeded to expel Israeli occupying forces from south Lebanon. Almost immediately in the aftermath of the failure, Israel planned another war with Hezbullah to re-establish its deterrence capacity. In 2006, after long preparation and using its air force, Israel suffered another ignominious defeat in Lebanon against Hezbullah.

    The second goal was to defeat the Palestinian peace offensive. This has been another basic principle of Israeli doctrine: You do not negotiate with Arabs. You give them orders. The Palestinian organization Hamas was becoming too moderate; it was transmitting, giving the signal that it was ready to go along with the two-state settlement based on pre-1967 borders. The leadership of Syria and the West Bank have also been making statements like this. So Israel started to get worried that it would be obliged to negotiate a settlement which the international community has been supporting for the last 30 years.

    Those who are against this settlement are the US or Israel, backed by the US. So when Hamas was becoming moderate and holding to the cease-fire it agreed in June 2008, it was showing herself to be a credible negotiating partner. Hamas was standing by its word. In the meantime, Israel has neglected another core principle of cease-fire, namely easing the blockade. So Israel had to defeat this Palestinian peace offensive. It always does this. It provokes Palestinians into reacting, and it wants to either destroy Hamas or inflicts so much damage that Hamas will have to say it will never negotiate with Israel. That is exactly what Israel wants. Israel never wants a moderate negotiating partner because if there is one, pressure on Israel will grow. Hamas is willing for a settlement; Hamas stands by its word. But Israel does not want to negotiate.

    What you are basically saying is that Israel is not interested in peace at all.

    Israel wants peace in its terms, and its terms are that West Bank should belong to their state.

    Will the operation be successful?

    First of all, we have to use proper language. There is no operation, and there is no war. What is happening is a slaughter, a massacre. When you have 200 to 300 kids killed, that is not a war. When you have a strong military going in against a defenseless population, that is not a war. When you shoot a fish in a barrel, we do not call it a war. As an Israeli columnist put it, it does not need too much courage to send jets and helicopter gunships to shoot inside a prison. What just happened was not a war. One-third of the casualties were children. It was not a war; it was a just a massacre.

    In terms of the Israelis’ goals, you have to say it was successful. It inspired fear among Palestinians and Arabs generally that Israel is a lunatic state and that you have to follow its orders. No. 2, it destroys Hamas as a negotiating partner. You now hear from Hamas that it will not negotiate peace. That is what Israel wanted.

    On your Web site, there is an argument that the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by the Nazis. Do you agree with that?

    I think Israel, as a number of commentators pointed out, is becoming an insane state. And we have to be honest about that. While the rest of the world wants peace, Europe wants peace, the US wants peace, but this state wants war, war and war. In the first week of the massacres, there were reports in the Israeli press that Israel did not want to put all its ground forces in Gaza because it was preparing attacks on Iran. Then there were reports it was planning attacks on Lebanon. It is a lunatic state.

    But do you agree with the characterization?

    Look at the pictures and decide for yourself. I am not going to tell people what they should think about it. But what I say is they should look at the pictures and decide for themselves. (For the pictures go to:

    Why have you been barred from entering Israel for 10 years? As the son of Holocaust survivors, you cannot enter Israel.

    Let’s be clear on a certain point. I was not entering Israel; I have no interest in going to Israel. I was going to see my friends in the occupied Palestinian territories. And Israel blocked me to go and see my friends in the West Bank. Under international law, I do not think they have any right to do that. I was not posing any security threat to Israel. The day after I was denied entry to Israel, the editorial of "Haaretz" was asking, “Who is afraid of Norman Finkelstein?” They were also saying that I was not a security threat. I do not have any particular interest to go and visit that lunatic state.

    There are Jewish intellectuals who now call Israel a “terrorist state.” Is that a correct description?

    I am not sure how you cannot agree with that. The goal of the operation was to terrorize the civilian population so that Palestinians would be afraid of Israel. This is the dictionary definition of terrorism. The dictionary definition of terrorism is targeting a civilian population to achieve a political goal. The goal of this operation or rather massacre was to terrorize the civilian population and to wreck and destroy as much civilian infrastructure such that the Palestinians would submit. When you attack schools, mosques, ambulances, hospitals, UN relief organizations, what is that? If this is not terrorism, then what is terrorism?

    In your famous book, The Holocaust Industry, you argue that the state of Israel, one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, cast itself as a victim state in order to garner immunity to criticism. Have we seen this during the Gaza operation?

    They tried to use the Holocaust; it was funny in a very sick way. The leader of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, wrote an article, and he said it is no coincidence that this war in Gaza is occurring around Jan. 27, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day. He wants to pretend some connection. In fact there is a connection, and the connection is Israel is committing a holocaust in Gaza. But that is not the connection he had in mind. He wanted to play the Holocaust card; I think that it is not working very much anymore. It was clear that during this last massacre in Gaza, liberal Jewish public opinion turned against Israel. If you look at the petitions, demonstrations, letters, support to Israel, not only in the international community but also among the Jewish community, is diminishing. So the Holocaust card, the anti-Semitic card, is not working as efficiently as it was working once.

    You will probably be called anti-Semitic as well.

    I do not think this propaganda is successful anymore.

    In your book Beyond Chutzpah, you argue that Israel was created after the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but the question whether it was premeditated remains to be answered. If it is premeditated, then can it be called genocide?

    Well, it was premeditated, and I think the record is pretty clear. Even Israel’s former minister of foreign affairs, Shlomo Ben-Ami, in his book published several years ago called “Scars of War,” said that it was quite clear that it was a premeditated expulsion in 1948 and it was anchored in the Zionist philosophy of transfer. Ethnic cleansings are ethnic cleansings, and they are war crimes.

    Why do you think US media is so one-sided and so pro-Israeli?

    I think it has two components. First of all, Israel serves American interests in the region and American media always give a free pass to those states that serve American interests. That is the overall picture and not much different from other parts of the world. The horrendous governments like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, they also get free passes in the American media. This is the larger context.

    And there is, of course, the secondary factor, which is the ethnic element. In many of these newspapers and the media in general, there is a large Jewish presence, and there is a sense of Jewish ethnic solidarity, which plays a role. But I think we have to qualify the secondary factor in two ways. We should not lose sight of the primary factor, which is Israel is the client state of US.

    No. 2: In this past war, the liberal Jewish population mostly under the age of 40 completely defected from the war, the massacre. They have been opposed to the massacres from the first day.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been very critical of Israel on Gaza, and some American circles lambasted him in return. What do you think about his stance?

    I wish he had gone further. I wish he had gone as far as Qatar, Mauritania, Bolivia and Venezuela in breaking diplomatic relations with that lunatic state. But as far as he has gone, the point on which he stands, has been terrific. And I was glad to see Hamas respected the gestures of the Turkish government and said they would be willing to have Turkish troops stationed on “our border.” That is a very high praise for the Turkish government.

    Turks are showing Palestinians compassion, decency and justice. All the Turkish people should take pride in this stance, as was the case on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was the Turkish people and government who showed courage. Ninety-six percent of the Turkish people opposed the war in Iraq. The Turkish government refused to give Americans use of their land to attack Iraq. Now Turkish people and the Turkish government are redeeming themselves again by standing on what is right, what is decent and what is just. I say the highest praise for Erdogan and the Turkish people.

    How do you feel about Israel’s operation in Gaza personally as the son of Holocaust survivors?

    It has been a long time since I felt any emotional connection with the state of Israel, which relentlessly and brutally and inhumanly keeps these vicious, murderous wars. It is a vandal state. There is a Russian writer who once described vandal states as Genghis Khan with a telegraph. Israel is Genghis Khan with a computer. I feel no emotion of affinity with that state. I have some good friends and their families there, and of course I would not want any of them to be hurt. That said, sometimes I feel that Israel has come out of the boils of the hell, a satanic state. Ninety percent of the population continues to cheer, to exalt and feel proud and heroic. They send a Sherman tank to a playground and torch children. Is this heroism? Is this courage?

    You were not allowed to teach at DePaul University despite a very good academic record and also had some problems in getting your Ph.D. from Princeton. Why?

    Well, I had some problems. I really cannot discuss my problems in the face of what is going on in Gaza. It will be so silly, trivial and stupid. Three hundred or so children — they were incinerated to death; phosphorus bombs were thrown indiscriminately over Gaza. Everything these people wanted to rebuild was destroyed again. This Israeli state invaded in 1978, again in 1982, again in 1993, again in 1996, again in 2006, and 2008, and it always destroys, destroys and destroys. And then these satanic narcissistic people throw their hands up in the air and ask, “Why doesn’t anybody love us? Why don’t our neighbors want us to be here?” Why would they?

    Interviewed by

    "Today's Zaman" (Turkey) Jan. 19, 2009

  69. Mark Steel: Now we've all seen through the Israeli government's excuses
    By: anti_war on: 21.01.2009 [10:38 ] (223 reads)
    If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn't Israel swap an F-16 for some?

    Wednesday, 21 January 2009
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    Fares Akram's Gaza blog

    (4955 bytes) [c]

    If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn't Israel swap an F-16 for some?

    Wednesday, 21 January 2009
    Related Articles
    Gaza: 'I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls'
    Israel 'completes Gaza troop withdrawal'
    Dialogue with Hamas is only path to peace, urges novelist
    Fares Akram's Gaza blog

    The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel's getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there's every chance it could start up again.

    The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to "inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population".

    Replace "Gaza" with "western", and that could have been written by al-Qa'ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don't they swap their F-16 fighters and Apachehelicopters for a few of them?

    These things are capable of terrorising a whole nation for years apparently, yet the Israelis have neglected to buy any, wasting their money on gunboats and stuff. Given that their annual arms budget is $7.2bn plus $2.2 bn in "aid", they'd save enough to buy a selection of banks in every country in the world.

    The military advantages would be enormous because the Israelis' complaint about Hamas is the use of tunnels to smuggle arms. But if Israel gave Hamas a few planes and tanks and helicopters, they could probably be persuaded to shut down those tunnels that seem to be the cause of such bad feeling.

    Whatever you say about Israel, at least it moves its weapons about legally – except for when it secretly built a nuclear arsenal against an array of international agreements. But they did it above ground and not in a tunnel and that's the main thing.

    Watching the reports from Gaza, another reason why the ceasefire may break down becomes apparent. The Israelis might claim that their satellite pictures now show Palestinians in possession of huge mounds of rubble – lethal if thrown over the border. Luckily these weapons are easy to spot. Most of them are next to women howling, "Look what they've done to my house," but perhaps the airforce should bomb them again – just in case. The Israelis say they fear Hamas will once again break the ceasefire by sending over those rockets. But the whole point of the operation was to make that impossible. Because they must have asked themselves the question, "If we slaughter 1,300 people, including 300 children, is that likely to make people: A. less cross or B. more cross?" And presumably they concluded it will make them much less likely to grow up full of hatred and determination to retaliate. Perhaps they saw medical research that shows when someone is suffering from anxiety and bouts of irascible ill-tempered behaviour, the best treatment is to pen them in with no food or medicine and then kill some of them, and that calms them down a treat.

    Another way to allay their worries about Hamas breaking the ceasefire is to read the report from their government's own Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre. This states that during the ceasefire "Hamas did not take part in any rocket fire and sometimes prevented other organisations from attacking." Still, with all that's been going on I suppose they haven't had time for reading.

    Despite all this there might be one cheery sign, which is that never before have so many people seen through the Israeli government's excuses for handing out mass destruction. The demonstrations in support of Palestinians have been bigger than ever before, and even the United Nations and the Wall Street Journal have suggestedIsrael has committed war crimes. One poll in America suggested that 60 per cent of people opposed the bombardment, and the change of opinion reached the point that an Israeli diplomat has admitted that "The harm to civilians in Gaza is causing us huge damage."

    Maybe, best of all, was genetics expert Steven Rose who appeared on Radio 4's Today programme to talk about a new study that's located "morality spots", the part of the brain that deals with our morality. Asked how we could know whether this was true, he said in a marvellously posh academic Radio 4 voice "Well we could test the brains of the Israeli cabinet and see if they've got no morality spots whatsoever."

    And the most immoral part of all is the perfectly cynical timing, as if three weeks ago Bush shouted: "Last orders please. Any last bombing, before time's up? Come along now, haven't you got homes to demolish?"

  70. Israelis are living high on US expense account

    By Michael Backman

    The Age

    January 17, 2009

    THERE'S a memorable scene in the Stephen Spielberg film ‘Munich’. After the 1972 Munich Olympic Games killings of Israeli athletes, prime minister Golda Meir tells confidants she wants to show the plotters that killing Jews "is expensive". She then organises for the assassination of each of the plotters.

    Today, it is Israel itself that has become expensive. Most directly, it is very expensive to the US, which subsidises and arms it.

    But Israel's utter inability to transform the Palestinians from enemies into friends has imposed big costs on us all. We have paid for Israel's failure with bombs on London public transport, bombs in bars in Bali, and even the loss of the World Trade Centre towers in New York.

    It is not true that these outrages have occurred because certain Islamic fundamentalists don't like Western lifestyles and so plant bombs in response. Rather, it is Israel — or more correctly the treatment of the Palestinians — that is at the nub of these events.

    The world's Muslims have no head: no overarching caliph or pope equivalent exists — no single power source with whom to negotiate.
    Instead, Islam is remarkably decentralised. So, how extraordinary that Israel and the West have managed to unite this headless, diverse, dispersed grouping without any institutional framework, around just one issue — anger at the treatment of the Palestinians.

    Otherwise dispersed groups of Muslims do seem to feel for one another in a way that Christians and others do not.

    In this respect, the international Islamic community is like a body: kick it in the leg and the rest of the body feels it. Kick it hard enough and the entire body will be energised to defend itself. Pictures of distraught Gazan mothers beside the mutilated bodies of their children are circulating right now among Muslim communities worldwide. It is pictures like these that make them want to do something.

    Consider Malaysia. Every citizen of this outpost of Islam has printed in his or her passport that the passport is not valid for Israel. And given that Malaysians are not allowed to hold dual citizenship, this essentially means that every Malaysian citizen, including the 40% who are not Muslims, are banned from visiting Israel.

    "When will Malaysia recognise Israel?" I once asked the then finance minister. "Once Israel treats the Palestinians better," was his reply.
    How would he determine that? "When the Palestinians tell us," he said. It is not Israel's right to exist that is at issue.

    The enmity many Muslims now feel for Israel has nothing to do with religion. The historical persecutors of the Jews have been Christians — their punishment for the death of Jesus. Jews and Muslims have lived in peace for hundreds of years in many parts of the Islamic world.
    When Catholic Spain and Portugal expelled its Jews, the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul invited them in. It is the Palestinian issue that has ruined all this.

    Of course, today Israel must defend itself. If the residents of Bendigo started firing rockets into Melbourne you would expect Melbourne to retaliate. But what must Melbourne have done to Bendigo to make them do such a thing? Constantly slapping an opponent in the face, kicking it down to its knees, and watching it struggle in the dirt will not teach the opponent to love or respect you. It teaches only hatred.

    Persecuting people does not weaken them. Israel should know that. The Jews have been persecuted for centuries. It didn't destroy them but gave them the impetus to survive.

    One characteristic that is common among persecuted groups is a strong investment in education — when people's physical wealth is in danger of destruction from war and persecution one store of wealth that stays with individuals even when they must flee as refugees is education. It explains why such groups often insist on their own schools — education is too important to be entrusted to others.

    Hamas did not enjoy the support of all the people of Gaza. It does now. Why does Israel keep getting it wrong?

    Trekking in Nepal is fashionable among young Israelis. So much so that many shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara have signs in Hebrew. But once you get on the trekking circuit and speak with local Nepalese guides and guesthouse operators you soon discover how disliked the Israelis are. Many guesthouses in this poor country will even tell Israeli trekking groups that they are full rather than accept them. This has nothing to do with religion or politics: Nepalese people are some of the warmest, most hospitable in the world. Rather, they say that the young Israelis are rude, arrogant, and argue over trifling amounts of money even though they clearly have means.

    Israel needs to change. The Parsees of India might provide a model. The Parsees are a very tiny, very rich ethnic and religious minority.
    They own perhaps most of the land in central Mumbai as well as the country's largest conglomerate. And yet ordinary Indians admire and respect them. Violence against them is unthinkable.

    How have they achieved this? They are not flashy or arrogant. Their overriding characteristic is a deep interest in the welfare of others.
    They have established hospitals, libraries, schools, museums and many other institutions and, most importantly, not for the Parsee community exclusively but for everyone. So the Parsees have peace and the Israelis do not.


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