Palestine/Israel Apartheid News: 5/23/11: Israel’s Herrenvolk police slaps a Palestinian lawyer

INDEX (stories follow)

“Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called “peace activist” Vittorio Arrigoni.”  and: “The death of a consummate Jew-hater must always be a cause for celebration.””

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Rebecca Collard reports on “Unequal Development in the West Bank,” examining Israeli government support for illegal Israeli colonies on Palestinian land and constraints on Palestinians’ development:

Here is Collard’s report on the deadly fire zone in Gaza, which is the strip’s bread basket, where Palestinians are in danger of being sniped at by Israelis in their own territory. Half of Palestinians in Gaza are unemployed and Israel will not allow them to export what they produce (a crime against humanity) and deeply restricts imports.

And here she reports on Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem while favoring Israeli settlers’ construction:

5 things you may not know about Silwan

from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon

Nice!

from Jews sans frontieres by Levi9909
Actually, It isn’t nice is the name of the song, written by Malvina Reynolds, and performed as the soundtrack tothis video by Barbara Dane.
EVENTS
HUMAN RIGHTS

HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Headlines for March 17, 2011

1 person liked this

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
EVENTS

Milad Ayyash, 17, Killed by Settler Guard’s Bullet

milad ayyash posterThe current round of Nakba Day bloodshed was “kicked off” a few days ago by a demonstration outside an illegal settler home in the Beit Yonatan neighborhood of East Jerusalem.  It was just an ordinary day in which Silwan residents were protesting yet another eviction and displacement by the radical settlers attempting to Judaize that part of the city.  Suddenly a window flung open from the settler lair and shots rang out.  One of the notorious private security guards employed to protect the settlers had killed again.

Milad Ayyash, a 17 year old boy, was shot in the chest and died.  Israeli authorities “are investigating,” which is code for we’ll do as little as we can and then when things have quieted down we’ll close the case.

Thanks to the original graphic art from Lahav Halevy.  He included the wonderful quotation from Psalm 37 sung during the Shabbat birkat ha-mazon:

I was young once but now I am old…

Halevy poignantly changed the words in the second half of the phrase to:

…and will never grow old

Michael Levin and I worked on this English version.  Please circulate it as widely as you can on blogs, social networking sites, etc.

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Second generation Nakba survivors tell their family’s stories

from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon
If you followed the protests all around the Palestinian Diaspora for Nakba Day, you saw how vividly this issue lives on 63 years later.

This site hosts videos and tweets are one minute testimonials from second and third generation Nakba survivors, that is people whose parents or grandparents were dispossessed following the creation of the state of Israel. Thus most of the witnesses are the  same age as our Young, Jewish, and Proud protestors.  They provide personal oral history to corroborate the kind of claims that almost got Tony Kushner denied his honorary degreee..

You can read Jewish Voice for Peace’s statement on the Nakba Day protests here.

A few selected videos  of the 21 that appear on the site:
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To Israel: The Palestinians are Coming! The Palestinians are Coming!

russians are comingApologies to all you youngsters out there who don’t remember the hilarious comedy spoof of the 1970s starring Alan Arkin and an amazing cast, The Russians are Coming! The Russian are Coming!  The plot revolved around a Russian submarine which runs aground on the New England coast, thus throwing the populace into a hysterical uproar, believing that the arrival of the sub presaged a Russian invasion of America.

nakba day golan protestDruze protesters breach the Israeli border

Of course the recent Nakba Day protests in which thousands of Palestinians and their supporters penetrated the Israeli border from territory of five frontline nations are no comedy, unless it’s one of the darkest kinds.  The joy felt by the Druze on the Israeli side of the border when their brethren crossed a mine field and leapt over a fence to meet them, quickly turned to horror when the IDF mowed down four of their number though they were completely unarmed.  Israel has faced no consequences for its heinous overreaction.

What I wanted to get at in the reference to the movie though is the vast divide between the average Israeli Jewish response to the border violation and the response of foreigners.  For Israelis, these were looming hordes come to rape and pillage Israel.  They had to be stopped by any means necessary including lethal violence.  They had to be taught a lesson not to tinker with Israel lest they repeat these theatrics.

For the average foreign observer, the Israeli response was typically bellicose, aggressive and brutal.  It showed the obtuseness of Israel both to the injustices it has perpetrated and to the perception of its behavior on the world stage.  So in my film analogy, the Israelis were the hysterical New England residents believing their country was about the be overrun.

Returning to Nakba Day…what did Israel expect from its own counter-provocation?  The demonstrations will now take on a continuing life of their own.  The IDF responded in precisely the way the organizers of this protest would’ve expected.  And now that Israel has drawn blood, the protesters have been in effect dared to take up the challenge.  If the IDF had merely treated the border violations as a civil matter and turned the protesters away in a non-lethal manner, the protests would’ve likely petered out or taken a different form.

But now, Israel has thrown down the gauntlet.  And one thing Israel may find is that the Arab world, in the aftermath of the democratic revolutions which convulsed Arab capitals from Tunis to Damascus, is in no mood to back down in the face of bullies.  Israel may have the most powerful army in the Middle East, but what can it do against the possibility of tens of thousands or protesters piercing its borders?  Can it afford to murder hundreds as has happened in Syria?  Does it have enough political capital left in the international community to withstand the universal condemnation this would arouse?  Not to mention calls for international criminal prosecution?  Does Bibi think Barack will cheer him on as Bush did when Israel slaughtered over 1,000 Lebanese civilians in 2006?

Similarly, when Israel mowed down nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara, it provoked a series of such flotillas chugging to Gaza.  Now, the Turkish foreign minister has warned Israel not to toy with Turkey by considering another military attack on a Turkish convoy planning to set sail for Gaza in June.  This could set up some sort of armed confrontation between the two former allies.  Isn’t it interesting how quickly relations and alliances shift in the Middle East?

I predict Bibi will fold in the face of the Turkish threat and these ships will reach Gaza.  Israel tends to back down when it realizes its opponent is as strong as it is.  Israel’s army and political leadership prefers to bully states and entities with weak military forces like Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.  That’s why there hasn’t been an armed confrontation with Jordan since 1967.  And conversely, it’s why it attacked the Mavi Marmara and forcibly prevents other unarmed ships from breaching the Gaza siege.  If any of these ships had a military escort, the situation would be different.

With the UN General Assembly vote looming in September, Palestinian activists will test Israel to determine how it will react to such protests.  If Israel continues to overreact and kills more activists and gets into a pissing match with Turkey, it will strengthen the movement for statehood.  This will also take the wind out of the sails of the Obama administration in its effort to carry water for Israel by vetoing the resolution in the Security Council if it makes its way there.

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Netanyahu Humiliates Obama, Misrepresents Israeli Policy

from Informed Comment by Juan
3 people liked this
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to embarrass his host, President Obama, at the White House on Friday, delivering a pedantic attack on him. Netanyahu made many false assertions about Israeli policy toward the Palestinian West Bank being driven solely by security concerns, when it is in fact a vast landgrab of the ‘settler-industrial complex.’ Israel’s colonization of territories occupied from the Palestinians in 1967 is illegal in international law and deeply immoral.

(Courtesy the BBC)

For anyone who wants to know the truth of what is going on, here is some Saturday viewing:

Rebecca Collard reports on “Unequal Development in the West Bank,” examining Israeli government support for illegal Israeli colonies on Palestinian land and constraints on Palestinians’ development:

Here is Collard’s report on the deadly fire zone in Gaza, which is the strip’s bread basket, where Palestinians are in danger of being sniped at by Israelis in their own territory. Half of Palestinians in Gaza are unemployed and Israel will not allow them to export what they produce (a crime against humanity) and deeply restricts imports.

And here she reports on Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem while favoring Israeli settlers’ construction:

Bibi at the White House: ‘I am the Leader of a Much Smaller People’

I don’t know whether Bibi was trying to tell the American people that Israelis had the pygmy gene in their DNA, but he had one of those awkward moments that doesn’t often happen to him, in which he said that while Pres. Obama led “a great people” he (Bibi) led “a much smaller people” allowing one to draw the implication that Israel was “not a great people.”  Obama rather graciously corrected Bibi’s flub by prompting him with the phrase “and a great people.”

Obama again, in remarks after their two-hour meeting, noted that Israel was a “Jewish state” making no reference to the fact that it was also composed of a significant minority of non-Jewish citizens.  It would be as if a foreign leader congratulated the U.S. for being a Christian nation.  It sure would make John Hagee happy.  But it wouldn’t make Rabbi David Saperstein happy (though he’d hypocritically be delighted with Obama’s characterization of Israel).

While the NY Times describes a frosty meeting in which the two disagreed fiercely on principles involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Obama though did re-emphasize his solidarity with Israel concerning a prospective Iranian bomb.  But the U.S. president didn’t understand the irony of his claim that an Iranian nuclear weapon would destabilize the entire Middle East by setting off a nuclear arms race, when Israel has done precisely the same thing.  The fact that Israel has up to 400 nuclear weapons doesn’t seem to have entered into Obama’s thinking at all on that score.  Might it not be possible that at least one motivation of Iranian nuclear weapons development might be to counter the threat it perceives from Israel (and other hostile neighbors).

Obama desperately tried to find some common ground with a clearly disgruntled Netanyahu, so he brought up once again the red herring of Hamas’ alleged refusal to recognize the State of Israel while neglecting to mention that Bibi too refuses to recognize Palestine within 1967 borders. If you’re going to insist on Palestinians fulfilling pre-conditions for negotiations I see no reason why Israel shouldn’t as well. Obama also continued with the U.S. mantra that Hamas “is not a partner for a realistic peace process.” He refused to acknowledge the fact that not only Hamas, but Fatah as well sees Israel under Netanyahu as not a “realistic peace partner.” I recognize that the president had the Israeli prime minister sitting right next to him and it would’ve been hard to speak truth in that situation. But to be so divorced from reality is simply disappointing.

From the Times coverage of the meeting, it appears Israel-Palestine peace talks are dead–dead as a doornail. How else can you describe the peace process when Bibi says this:

For there to be peace Palestinians will have to accept a few facts as a basic reality…Israel cannot go back to the 1967 lines because these lines are indefensible. They don’t take into account demographic changes that have taken place over the past forty years…We’re going to have to have a long-term military presence along the Jordan Valley.

I found it almost surreal that Bibi was so desperate that he trotted out forty year-old Israeli talking points about the “nine-mile” strip that was Israel at its narrowest point, the so-called ‘Auschwitz borders’ so named by Abba Eban and lately taken up by Alan Dershowitz.

Netanyahu exploited the august venue of a presidential briefing to spread his noxious lies that Hamas is “the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.”

The final “fact” that the Palestinians have to accept according to Bibi, is that the only Right of Return they will have is to a Palestinian state. What’s curious about this is that a Palestinian refugee who fled from a town or village within Israel will be deemed to have satisfied his right of return by settling in a country he never lived in and a town nowhere near the one he originally was expelled from. Why would a refugee from Ramleh or Jaffa want to ‘return’ to Ramallah or Nablus or Jericho? This may be resettlement, but it isn’t “return.” And Palestinians don’t merely want resettlement, they want recognition of the injustice committed against them through the Nakba.

In arguing against the Palestinian Right of Return, Bibi adds another lie to his presentation when he claims that Jews were “expelled from Arab lands in roughly the same number” as Palestinian refugees from Israel. First most Arab Jews, except in a few cases, weren’t “expelled” though many left feeling some sense of discrimination against them. And while it’s possible that 1-million Jews immigrated to Israel from Arab lands, they weren’t refugees driven from their countries in the same sense as the Palestinians were.

He brags that “tiny Israel” absorbed the Jewish refugees while the Arab states didn’t absorb the Palestinian refugees. Another case of historical blinders: Israel wanted these refugees to populate the “tiny” new state. In some cases, Israel actually fomented unrest through acts of anti-Jewish terror in Arab countries which stampeded Jews to leave for Israel. However, no Arab state needed or wanted Palestinians refugees, since the former believed they had been expelled unjustly. Why would an Arab country feel under any obligation to relieve Israel of the burden of guilt for this crime against its former Palestinian citizens?

The piece de la resistance of Bibi’s performance was when he said about the Right of Return:

That’s not gonna happen. Everybody knows it’s not gonna happen. And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly: it’s not gonna happen.

I definitely want to play that tape back for him in the coming years when precisely this outcome DOES happen. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it.

So the question now is what next for U.S. policy. Will Obama allow it to go into the deep freeze as Bush did for eight years? And even if he wished to, will the momentum of the Arab Spring allow him to get away with such benign neglect?

On a separate matter, I thought it was quite illuminating that the Times for the first time has published an articlethat notes that Dennis Ross is Israel’s booster inside the White House. While the Times has covered Ross, it has never as explicitly portrayed his sympathies and acknowledged that he is not an honest broker, but Israel’s man. If American policy is a mess, a large part of the blame goes to Dennis Ross. That wasn’t in the article explicitly, but any well-informed person reading it would recognize that that was the implication that could and should be drawn. Ross has bested George Mitchell and Hillary Clinton in obstructing any American proposals that would challenge Israel overly much. He is the last man left standing. But what he stands over is an administration policy in shambles. And he deserves the credit for that. Will he get it though? I hope to God he will.

While there is a considerable amount of apt analysis in Roger Cohen’s account of Pres. Obama’s Mideast speech, I find this rejection of the September Palestinian campaign at the UN for statehood remarkably obtuse:

It represents a return to useless symbolism and the narrative of victimhood.

I find it offensive that a British Jew would condescend to Palestinians by telling them their quest for a vote on supporting statehood was not just ‘symbolism,’ but worse, part of a ‘narrative of victimhood.’ By what right does he talk about the victimhood of Palestinians? What suffering has he endured that makes him an expert on the strategy Palestinians should use to attain their dream of a state of their own? This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Israeli MPs Slam Netanyahu Intransigence

from Informed Comment by Juan
The USG Open Source Center translates reactions from opposition members of parliament (the Knesset) in Israel to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s blunt rejection of President Obama’s speech on the Middle East.

‘ Opposition Parliamentarians Charge Netanyahu’s Policies Harmful to Israel
Voice of Israel Network B
Friday, May 20, 2011 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Qadima MK Sha’ul Mofaz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that Prime Minister Netanyahu today brought Israel one more step closer to international isolation. Only 24 hours since the start of his visit, Netanyahu managed to deepen the crisis with our best friend, and in less than 12 hours managed to strength the belief that Israel under his leadership refuses peace. Mofaz also said that the prime minister is leading Israel into an unprecedented diplomatic confrontation with the United States and a violent clash with the Palestinians whose outcome will be difficult and painful. Instead of moving toward a confrontation we should move toward elections, Mofaz said.

Meretz MK Zahava Gal’on said that Netanyahu’s dispute with Obama over the 1967 lines contradicts Israel’s interest. She said it meets only the needs of the extreme right-wing coalition, which wants to build in the territories and deepen the occupation.

(Description of Source: Jerusalem Voice of Israel Network B in Hebrew — State-funded radio, independent in content) ‘

Kadima is a center-right Israeli party that broke with the ruling Likud Party over its members’ unease with Likud expansionism in the Palestinian territories and a fear that over time a Greater Israel would make Jews into a minority because so many Palestinians would have been absorbed along with their land. The ruling Israeli Right wing has an answer to this anxiety, which is to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians and deprive Palestinian-Israelis of citizenship, so that the land could be usurped without the people. This latter policy strikes Kadima as impractical and as guaranteeing a lot of trouble, though Kadima is not in favor of returning to 1967 borders or of seeing a Palestinian state established any time soon. Meretz is a center-left liberal party that wants a two-state solution and would probably accept 1967 borders.

Denial is a River Running Right Past Bibi’s Door

You’ve heard the old joke that denial is a river in Egypt.  Well, in Bibi Netanyahu’s case it’s a river runnin’ right past his door.  The NY Times reports in a follow up to Obama’s speech that Bibi was furious that Obama planned to underscore U.S. support for a return to 1967 borders (with land swaps):

[There was] a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.

The guy doesn’t seem to realize that 1967 borders has been U.S. policy practically since, well 1967.  This sound byte from Michael Oren further mystified me:

…There were…aspects [of the speech] like the return to the 1967 borders which depart from longstanding American policy…going back to 1967…

I found this passing strange till I realized that what they were both probably apoplectic about was the supposed American backtrack from the Bush letter to Sharon in which he accepted that Israel would retain major settlement blocs in perpetuity.  But even with such a letter, it doesn’t stray from the 67 borders concept because the land swaps would include those few settlements blocs which would incorporate most of the settlers in the West Bank.

So really, the entire thing seems like a charade or Kabuki drama in which the antics and motivations of the Israelis are too obscure to parse.

There does seem to be at least a modicum of realism on the part of some in Bibi’s entourage about the September General Assembly vote:

…The last-minute furor highlights the discord as they head into what one Israeli official described as a “train wreck” coming their way: a United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood in September.

Frankly, I’d rather see it as the train of Palestinian destiny, but if Bibi and Barack insist on standing in its path it might indeed be a train wreck for them.  Someone who knows UN protocol better than I should explain the process of the statehood vote.  I know the General Assembly recognized Israel in 1947.  I’d never heard that the Security Council would take a vote too on Palestinian independence if the General Assembly did.  This article says that Obama plans to veto any resolution brought to the former.  Why would there be?

In truth, it hardly matters because clearly the U.S. and Israel will be extremely isolated whether the Security Council vetoes the resolution or not.  The point will have been made.  Israeli and U.S. policy will appear more and more divorced from reality as the rest of the world sees it.  Both nations will verge closer to becoming irrelevancies on the world stage.  A sad and sorry sight to see for someone who is a citizen of the one and an admirer (at times) of the other.

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Two young men wounded in addition to dozens of cases of choking gas in Bil’in weekly demonstration

 https://i0.wp.com/www.bilin-ffj.org/images/stories/5-5r.jpg  Photos By Rani Burnat

Friday 20/05/2011-.Today in the weekly march in Bil’in organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall with the participation of Sa’di Tameezi, the Palestinian ambassador to Vietnam, two young men were injured, and dozens of people suffered from the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. Dozens of Palestinians were joined by international and Israeli activists, commemorating the martyrs who fell in the demonstrations held on the anniversary of the Nakba last week. The march began in the center of the village after Friday prayers. In the area above the wall, demonstrators raised the Palestinian flag, as well as banners inscribed with the names of villages destroyed in 1948 and pictures of the imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Participants chanted nationalist slogans in favor of the right of return (the return of refugees to the land from which they were expelled).

At the eastern gate of the wall, Israeli soldiers fired a shower of tear gas;; they also sprayed ‘stink’ water, water treated with a chemical that gives it a foul smell that can’t be removed from people’s clothes. Among those injured were Ibrahim Bornat, 28, who was hit by a tear gas canister in the abdomen, and 22-year-old Mohammed Suleiman Bornat, who, after severe choking and vomiting caused by tear gas, had to be treated by ambulance crews. The soldiers also fired tear gas into the olive groves, with the purpose of setting fire to them. Fortunately, the people of Bil’in were able to put out the fire. This demonstration took place the day after Obama’s speech on the Middle East. Our response to that speech is: Obama is not the God who will decide our fate, and we are not depending on him. Through the popular struggle we will achieve our goals: freedom, return and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

War mongering

So Obama mentions a missile name before the AIPAC conference, and the audience goes wild for the mere mention of a missile.  Can you imagine if an Arab or Muslim audience goes wild for the mere mention of a missile? Can you imagine the various racist and Orientalist explanations that would have been invoked?

 

Arad Exposed Secret U.S. Agreement to Jump-Start Israeli Civilian Nuclear Power Industry

uzi arad and netanyahuUzi Arad and Bibi Netanyahu toast during happier days (Moshe Milner)

Yesterday, I reported a story from Yediot that claimed Uzi Arad had given a U.S. diplomat a copy of the secret Lindenstraus report on the second Lebanon war.  Turns out, there were two accurate claims in the report–that it involved the U.S. and a secret report.  But the rest was wrong.

Today, a different story has been reported by Channel 2 about the reason for Arad’s brusque firing by Bibi Netanyahu from his senior post as national security advisor.  The news report says that Arad briefed Israeli reporters and revealed that during the prime minister’s July 2010 visit to the White House, the U.S. and Israel secretly upgraded the level of their nuclear cooperation.  This, according to Haaretz, followed on the heels of Obama’s surprise endorsement of a nuclear-free Middle East in which all states endorsed the NPT.  This raised fears in Israel that pressure would be brought to bear against it as a non-signatory.  The agreement was meant to reassure Israel.

Since the 1970s, Israel has been punished for not signing the NPT by being prohibited from building a civilian nuclear program.  Only one other country in the world is an NPT non-signatory which received a “waiver” to build its own civilian nuclear power facility with U.S. approval: India.  This is what Arad was telling the world.  Israel had achieved what only one other country in the world had.  The ability to thumb one’s nose at NPT while having civilian nuclear power: like having your cake and eating it too.

Given the sensitivity of the subject, considering Iran’s nuclear program and Israeli-U.S. hyperventilation about the threat it poses, Arad’s revelation can only have complicated relations between the U.S. and other Mideast states.  Further, considering the U.S. was secretly upgrading cooperation with an Israel which has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while it railed against Iran (an NPT signatory) for having the temerity to want what Israel has had for decades–well, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.

That is what this 7th Eye report explicitly confirms, saying that the U.S. offered to provide Israel nuclear fuel for civilian uses:

Because Israel was a serious, responsible state.

…As opposed to a certain other Middle East state who didn’t yet have nuclear weapons, was an NPT signatory, but nevertheless was unserious and untrustworthy…

Though Israel has Dimona, which produces fuel for its nuclear weapons, it does not have civilian nuclear power capacity.  That’s what the U.S. was offering.   Materiel and know-how that could begin a civilian nuclear power industry in Israel, to be used by Israel to produce not only electric power, but also in technological processes and to power various types of sophisticated equipment.  Israel, of course, viewed this as a Good Housekeeping seal of approval from the White House that its status as a nuclear power was in the good graces of Washington.

All this of course put the lie to U.S. efforts to inhibit nuclear proliferation both in Iran and throughout the Middle East.  How could we look at such countries with a straight face and tell them they should remain nuclear-free, when we were rewarding Israel’s defiance of NPT with secret accords and other goodies?

Senior Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz went further in his own remarks and said that the agreement with the U.S. put in on a par with India (another NPT refuser) as a nation with which the U.S. engaged in similar secret nuclear agreements.  The message Steinitz sought to convey was that Israel, like India, could maintain its favored relationship with the U.S. while remaining outside the NPT.  He went even farther in calling the agreement a “historic declaration.”  This naturally didn’t sit well with the U.S., which could see all manner of countries, nuclear and wanna-be, lining up for similar treatment.  Not to mention, both Arad and Steinitz were explicitly undermining Obama’s call for NPT to be accepted throughout the Middle East.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration immediately denied that there had been any agreement between itself and Israel about nuclear cooperation.  And just like that, Israel’s civilian nuclear power dreams went up in smoke.  Needless to say, this sort of thing makes a president very cranky.  So that’s why Uzi Arad was canned.  Considering the level of threat Arad had already posed to U.S. intelligence given the Rosen-Aipac spy scandal, there was surely little love lost between Arad and this administration and the latter would have shed few tears at his firing.  Haaretz also notes that poor Uzi has also lost his top level security clearance for his indiscretion.  So his career inside the security establishment seems over, at least for now.  But people like Arad in Israeli politics seem to come back like a bad penny.

The irony of Bibi being off today to none other than Washington to meet the president who originally promised (or so Israel believed) the nuclear cooperation deal isn’t lost on many Israelis or on Obama.  Couldn’t be worse timing to have such a incident clouding such a meeting.

One final word, Arad claims that he let this news slip accidentally in a briefing he gave to Israeli journalists.  If you believe this I have a bridge I want to sell you.  In fact, Arad has to say this because if he leaked the material knowingly, then he could  (and probably would) be prosecuted.  By claiming it was an accident, he makes it harder for the prosecutor to build a case against him.  The attorney general, in considering bringing charges, decided not to.  So as I wrote yesterday, Anat Kamm gets up to nine years for leaking documents far less damaging to Israel’s interests than what Arad did.  The latter almost single-handedly sunk Israel’s chance of a civilian nuclear power industry.  What did Kamm do?  Revealed that a general aided and abetted commission of a war crime for which he was not, and will never be prosecuted.  In Israel, justice isn’t blind.  It looks out for the powerful and tramples the lowly and the weak.

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US presidents and the Israeli lobby

Can you imagine if US presidents regularly speak (and prostrate before) China lobby or Japan lobby or Russia lobby or even Belgium lobby?  I mean, the situation is bizarre. That every year when the Israeli lobby convenes its annual conference, all top US officials and leaders have to appear and prostrate themselves.  Historically, decades from now, historians would look back and note the bizarreness of the ritual.

Boycott Israel in Lebanon

Oh, you bet the show would be closed down.  Leftist comrades in Lebanon were planning major protests against the presence of an Israeli photographers. That is how serious the boycott of Israel is taken.  You bet.  (Oh, notice the photo credit for the piece in the article).  (thanks Daniel)

Do you know that Foxman is now interviewed regularly on foreign policy?

““If Dennis Ross was in the inner circle in the early days, this administration would not have made that colossal settlements error,” Mr. Foxman said. “He would have said, ‘Don’t go there.’ ””


HUMAN RIGHTS

At Umm-Al-Kheir, Fighting Demolitions with Art

from The Only Democracy? by Assaf Oron
In November 2008, we reported to you about demolition orders, issued by Israel’s Civilian Administration of the Occupied Territories, against eleven structures in Umm-Al-Kheir (including stone and tin residential structures, lavatory structures, tents, and a tin storage structure). The structures are located in two residential clusters in Umm al-Kheir that are home to five extended families (over 100 children and adults). Thirty years ago, these families have had the misfortune of the Israeli settlement Carmel settling right on top of their lands and living quarters. The continued expansion of Carmel means continued demolitions and evictions for Umm-Al-Kheir.

Following the demolition orders of November 2009, the families of Umm al-Kheir began a judicial fight to have the orders annulled. The two lawyers conducting the fight on the locals behalf have succeeded in postponing demolition in the northern-most cluster, that is, the cluster whose residents had been recognized by Israeli courts in the early 1980s as the legal owners of their lands. As for the southern-most cluster, where the courts did not recognize the residents’ ownership of the lands (notwithstanding their legal purchase of the lands under Jordanian rule), all judicial objections have now been overruled, and the court has upheld the demolition orders.

The last chance left of overturning or postponing the demolition of our homes is the appeal submitted recently by the lawyer representing us to Israel’s High Court of Justice. The residents of the southern cluster in Umm Al-Kheir appealed to for help in financing the appeal to the Supreme Court. Israeli individuals with the mediation of the Villages Group contributed most of the money needed to cover the cost of the application (approximately $800).

Among the structures facing demolition is the home of Eid Hathelin, a local artist. You can see Eid, his family and his work in the final extended version of David Massey’s unique video “Eid”.

Eid’s wife, Na’ama, gave birth last week to their second daughter Lin (sister to Sadin).

In the meanwhile, young people from both at-risk clusters erected (with the help of Israeli and international volunteers) a new tent which they designate to become a center for many educational, artistic and other activities. This is indeed a very special initiative that comes from within, one that can bring new light of hope for one of the most persecuted communities in the West-Bank.

SONY DSC SONY DSCIf you are willing to help the people of Umm al-Kheir in this new endeavor, or would like additional details, please contact Ehud Krinis at ksehud”at”gmail.

(crossposted from the Villages Group Blog)

U.N. Gaza Inquiry Panelist Desmond Travers Challenges Goldstone’s Recantation of Key Finding

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Goldstone_buttonLast month Judge Richard Goldstone, the chair of the United Nations’ inquiry into Israel’s 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip, retracted his key finding that Israel deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians in its three-week assault. Israel, with backing of the United States, seized on Goldstone’s comments and called for the United Nations to withdraw the report. Goldstone came under criticism from his co-panelists who co-authored the original report. We speak to one of those panelists, Col. Desmond Travers, a retired Irish soldier and peacekeeper. [includes rush transcript]

Yoav Even, Accused Rapist, Freed for ‘Lack of Evidence’

yoav evenWelcome back, Yoav

Despite reams of detailed evidence from the alleged rape victim (some of which I have seen), the Israeli prosecutor has dropped its case against Channel 2 reporter Yoav Even.  The state declared it was doing so “for lack of evidence.”  When a prosecutor finds a woman’s claim that she was sodomized against her will by a man to be insufficient to bring a charge against him, then you know something is likely wrong.  Of course, the gag order imposed by the judge helped tamp down both public interest and awareness of the case making it much easier to drop the charges and allow the media celebrity to go free.

In the meantime, Yoav Even and his colleagues at Channel 2 are celebrating his imminent return to work.  Here they celebrate at a club his freedom.  Maariv notes rather coyly that Even has been “absent from the scene” for some time.  It breathlessly and tastelessly adds:

To all those yearning, he’s [Even] expected to return to work soon.

An Israeli writes to me (and I can’t tell whether this is perverse humor or true) that now he can sit down and pen that book he’s been meaning to write: “How to Screw Israeli Girls.” One wonders whether a brush with a rape charge will increase his allure in the eyes of some or will they stand clear.  From the looks of this picture, it doesn’t appear to be happening in Even’s case.

A man with his apparent sexual proclivities is liable to try something like this in the future.  The first time he got off just by the skin of his teeth.  Next time (if/when there is one), he won’t be so lucky.  Of course, this is very small consolation to the alleged victim in this case.

In this day and age, when powerful French politicians find their aberrant sexual habits topple their careers and wives of ex-California governors are dumping them for fathering children out-of-wedlock, the seeming cavalierness with which such serious charges are treated in Israel appears thankfully to be an anomaly.

Related posts:

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  2. Israeli TV Reporter Accused of Rape, Alleged Crime and Identity Under Gag…Till Now Hannah Beit Halachmi, one of Israel’s leading feminist bloggers who…
  3. IDF Officer Accused of Manslaughter in Cast Lead The Israeli military prosecutor has filed the most serious charge…

Israel’s Herrenvolk police slaps a Palestinian lawyer

from Jews sans frontieres by Gabriel
Popout

At the end of this clip, Herrenvolk police officer Kobi Bachar, deputy commander of the Galilee District Police, slaps a Palestinan lawyer after she asked him why he is arresting protesters (972mag). Of course, by the macho apartheid rules of the state also known as “the only feminist, queer friendly, democratic, pluralistic haven in the Middle East (TM)”, she’s asking for it. She is, after all, both a Palestinian, and a woman, and she dares speak to a police officer. For all we know, she might have even looked him in the eyes when she questioned his authority to enforce the rule that Jews rule. I am sure the poor man needed counseling to overcome the sheer trauma.

In an effort to save readers time I provide below copy that can be directly incorporated into New York Times and Washington Post articles:

In a recent flare up of violence (1) in Arab towns in Israel, an Arab (2) protester, a woman according to some Palestinian sources (3), hit the palm of a police officer with her cheek. The police officer was briefly hospitalized but his life is reportedly not in danger. Some Middle East experts (4) see the hand of the Iranian government behind the attack (5).

footontes:

    1. because normal repression is not violent, only opposition to repression can be violent.
    1. as in the crowd scenes in “The Mummy.”
    1. To prevent bias, we send only blind reporters to the Middle East
    1. the reporter’s brother in law
  1. what else could cause the happy and pampered Palestinian citizens of Israel to take the streets?

5 things you may not know about Silwan

from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon
The Israeli group Solidarity sent along this flyer from a joint action they did with Silwanic, a Palestinian center in the Silwan neighborhood that seeks to counter the erasure of Palestinian history by the right wing settler group ElAd that has been given dominion over its archeological sites. Feel free to download and share with any right wing family members you have who talk about the “City of David”  while ignoring its Palestinian residents.

You can also take part in Solidarity’s action on hipster travel guide Lonely Planet, to get them to exclude  ElAd from their book.

Common Solidarity protest signs read “Jerusalem is not Hebron.” For a stark video reminder of what it would mean if these settlers were to succeed in Silwan, here’s a video of a Palestinian family’s walk home from school in Hebron, h/t to Dorothy Naor of New Profile. Ironists should note that this takes place during the first day of Passover, the Jewish holiday commerorating the flight from slavery and subsequent wandering to reach home. This story has inspired countless other struggles throughout history, including the recent Egyptian revolution, but not as it appears the Israeli military.

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ZIONISM = RACISM

celebrating death in Zionist media

“”Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called “peace activist” Vittorio Arrigoni.”  and: “The death of a consummate Jew-hater must always be a cause for celebration.”” (thanks Raed)

JC on the peacemakers

from Jews sans frontieres by Levi9909
That’s the Jewish Chronicle, not Jesus Christ. Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian’s woman in Jerusalem has just got wind of Geoffrey Alderman’s op-ed piece celebrating the murder of ISM activist, Vittorio Arrigoni:
I was sent a link this week to a piece published in the Jewish Chronicle by historian Geoffrey Alderman, the opening sentence of which I found pretty shocking.
Under the headline This Was No Peace Activist, Alderman wrote:
“Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called ‘peace activist’ Vittorio Arrigoni.”
Arrigoni, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was murdered in Gaza last month after being abducted by Islamic extremists. He was strangled with a plastic cord. Hamas subsequently killed those responsible for Arrigoni’s death.
His murder, wrote Alderman, “was immediately pounced upon by the western media as an affront to the civilised world”. This is indeed the case; many newspapers – including the Guardian – ran stories andprofiles describing Arrigoni’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and the extremist stance of those who killed him.
But, wrote Alderman, “the truth is very different. Vittorio Arrigoni, a disciple of the International Solidarity Movement, had travelled to Gaza to assist in the breaking of the Israeli naval blockade. As a supporter of Hamas he was a consummate Jew-hater.”
He said Arrigoni’s Facebook page – in Italian – contained “explicit anti-Jewish imagery”.
I asked Alderman – who has occasionally contributed to the Guardian – whether he regretted recording his “pleasure” at Arrigoni’s death. “It’s still my view,” he told me on the phone from London. “He was a Jew-hater like Adolf Hitler. Yes, he deserved to die for being a Jew-hater. I rejoiced in the death of a Jew-hater. I have no regrets.”
Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist and academic, who knew Arrigoni well, said Alderman’s charges against him were “outrageous”.
“Sometimes things are so outrageous there simply isn’t a response. Vik [Arrigoni] was unique. He was political and he had strong opinions. But the idea that he would differentiate between someone Jewish and someone non-Jewish – there has never been a hint of that.”
Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, told me he had no qualms about publishing the piece. “I have no problem at all with publishing it. I don’t agree with [Alderman], it’s not my view – it’s his.”
He rejected the description of Arrigoni as a “peace activist”. “He was a member of the ISM, for God’s sake. That’s not peace activism, that’s hard core Palestinian terror.”
Neta Golan, an Israeli founder of the ISM, denied the organisation supported terror attacks or backed Hamas. “The ISM supports the avenue of non-violent and popular resistance,” she told me. “It is a grassroots group, and we will work with anyone who wants to organise non-violent resistance. The ISM does not have a position on internal Palestinian politics.”
She also rejected suggestions that Arrigoni was anti-Semitic. “It was so obvious he wasn’t a racist. Absolutely he was not anti-Semitic.”
I never met Arrigoni and I don’t know what his views (if any) on Jews, as opposed to his views on Israel, were. Attempts to conflate opposition to Israeli policies with anti-Semitism are not new.
Scenes of Palestinian militants handing out sweets to celebrate suicide bombings or other deadly attacks are familiar – and sickening.
Now Alderman’s rejoicing in the death of a pro-Palestinian activist seems to me a new and repugnant development.
HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Shihade: A New Era for Palestinians

from Informed Comment by Juan
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Magid Shihade writes in a guest column for Informed Comment

The Palestinian Unity Agreement and the Beginning of New Era

The agreement of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, ending years of Palestinian political divisions and paralysis, was signed last week. The reasons for signing the unity agreement at this point are many including local, regional and global dimensions, and these all will define the next chapter in Palestinian history, and thus worth recounting.

Locally, there have been many calls and demonstrations in Palestine calling for ending the political division and forming a united front that can deals better with Israeli constant aggression and western complacency.
For Hamas, beside the growing popular demand for unity, their patrons in Damascus are facing difficult time with the spread of the revolution to Syria. This has pushed Hamas for more flexibility to reach an agreement with Fatah. Regional effects have had their impact on Fatah as well. The fall of Mubarak’s regime and his history of pressure on the PA to go along Israeli and American demands gave more space for Abbas to maneuver in the negations with Hamas.

The new Egyptian political leadership is clearly different from the previous one as seen by the recent statement of the Egyptian foreign minister—Al-‘Arabi—, and that the old policies vis-à-vis Gaza were shameful episode of Egyptian history, and by the Egyptian government position to open the borders with Gaza.

Israel has its role as well with its policies of attacks on Gaza, and colonies building in the West Bank, and house demolitions in East Jerusalem, and refusal to come to terms with the principles of possible peace with the Palestinians and allow a for an independent Palestinian state. While Israeli policies did not help Palestinian leaders to continue its old course of politics of senseless negotiations, it was also the United States constant backing and following of the Israel line that did not help the Palestinian leaders to keep waiting for empty promises.

The reaction to the news about the agreement spurred different reactions. Locally and regionally in the Arab world, the news were much welcomed. On the other hand, there were Israeli open condemnation, European pessimistic hesitance to respond, and cautious American negative response and warnings.

The future prospects of the agreement must be taken with caution. While Palestinian unity is something that has much support within the Palestinian society, political maneuvers of both Hamas and Fatah to dominate Palestinian politics can put this unity in jeopardy again. This depends on how much leaders of both parties understand the changing dynamics in the region, and revolutionary spirit among the Arab people that no longer will accept political cynicism and corruption as was the case before.

Already signs of change from old style politics have surfaced. Mash’al, the head of Hamas announced days ago that organization will not take any step against Israel without the approval of the PA, thus making it clear that the Palestinians will have only one legitimate leadership responsible for decisions. This is much needed as Abbas can us it to show a unified Palestinian political body as he goes ahead with the next strategy for an international recognition of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. Abbas himself also announced that he won’t run for the coming presidential election, a clear sign that the Palestinian leadership is becoming more attuned to the winds of change in the region and to internal public demands for change.

Equally important is the Israeli, American, and European roles in this. We should not forget that Israel, with the support of Europe and the United States, remains the colonial power that can make things more difficult for the Palestinians.

The next chapter in Palestinian history will be defined by the interplay of all these factors. While Israel, the U.S. and EU will keep the pressure on the Palestinians to more or less continue the status quo, the Palestinian youth and general public, influenced by regional changes, will continue its pressure on the Palestinian leadership to end the status quo of endless negotiations and Palestinian concession met by Israeli continued ethnic cleansing and colonization policies.

Any new Palestinian government must show independence of heavy partisan political affiliation and loyalty. The Palestinian leadership must show that it is becoming more attentive to public voice, and manage to rally the support needed for its dealing with Israel and the U.S. in the coming stage. The Palestinian leaders will need much more local public support, and can take advantage of the changes in Egypt, where the new political leaders already showing sign of more independence from U.S. pressure, and Abbas’ remarks after the signing of the agreement in Cairo regarding what he sees from Israel in the next stage is already a sign of much bolder stand that seems to be the tone for the coming period.

On the Global scene, the Palestinian unity agreement reflects a possible end of an era and the beginning of a new one. The division was created in line with the global political structure created by the United States after 9/11 under the so called “war on terror,” and its framework of “good and bad Muslims.” If the reconciliation is achieved and maintained, it means an end of that era, and a beginning of new one impacted by the Arab Revolution that aims at making peoples’ voice and will above the wishes of corrupt regimes, and Israeli, American, and European dictates.

If the new regional changes are understood well and utilized for a new form of politics on the ground, and by an official as well as public resistance and diplomacy around the world that can challenge American and European complacency with Israeli policies, the Palestinian cause for justice and freedom might not only bring peace and justice for the Palestinian people, but also might help end the local, regional, and global politics of hegemony and injustice. For all parties concerned, Palestine remains a central question.

——-
Magid Shihade is an assistant professor of International Studies at Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine, and the author of the recently published book by Syracuse University Press “Not Just a Soccer Game: Colonialism and Conflicts among Palestinians in Israel.”

This is hilarious: even Israeli media don’t claim that Arab countries attacked Israel in 1967

In the service of Israeli war crimes, everything is possible in the US media:  “First off, he said Israel is not returning to the borders in place before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors but emerged from the war having garnered significant new territory.” (thanks Khelil)

Obama is running for re-election

“An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, quoted Mr. Netanyahu as telling his aides: “I went in with certain concerns. I came out encouraged.””

They were driven out: either killed or expelled

“”The channel said that Hijazi had gone to Jaffa in search of what had been his parents’ home before they joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee or be driven away during a war over Israel’s founding in 1948.“” (thanks Arang)

“Here comes your non-violent resistance”

“FOR many years now, we’ve heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they’d have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination…So now we have an opportunity to see how Americans will react. We’ve asked the Palestinians to lay down their arms. We’ve told them their lack of a state is their own fault; if only they would embrace non-violence, a reasonable and unprejudiced world would see the merit of their claims. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of them did just that, and it seems likely to continue. If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do? Will we make good on our rhetoric, and press Israel to give them their state? Or will it turn out that our paeans to non-violence were just cynical tactics in an amoral international power contest staged by militaristic Israeli and American right-wing groups whose elective affinities lead them to shape a common narrative of the alien Arab/Muslim threat? Will we even bother to acknowledge that the Palestinians are protesting non-violently? Or will we soldier on with the same empty decades-old rhetoric, now drained of any truth or meaning, because it protects established relationships of power? What will it take to make Americans recognise that the real Martin Luther King-style non-violent Palestinian protestors have arrived, and that Israeli soldiers are shooting them with real bullets?” (thanks Mohammad)
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This entry was posted in Apartheid, Background & Analysis, Events, Goldstone, Human Rights, Israel, Obama, Palestine, US Foreign Policy, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

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