Here's a petition from the out-of-control Minnesota congresswoman (thanks to Max Blumenthal). And the other night Michelle Bachmann was on CNN saying that Obama is sticking the knife into Israel. She is plainly doing this to raise money. Well that's OK: There are more and more indications that the Israel/Palestine issue will be politicized in the next election, and Americans will begin to discuss the question. Read more
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
President Obama has shown himself to be weak in his dealings with the Middle East, says Robert Fisk, and the Arab world is turning its back with contempt. Its future will be shaped without American influence
This month, in the Middle East, has seen the unmaking of the President of the United States. More than that, it has witnessed the lowest prestige of America in the region since Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945.
While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America's new role in the region. It was pathetic. "What is this 'role' thing?" an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. "Do they still believe we care about what they think?"
By the way, I found it interesting that when he spoke to AIPAC he didn't feel the need to talk about the Holocaust. As if when among the Jews Bibi feels he has no need to use the doomsday argument, but with the goyim it's another matter. Why does Netanyahu feel the need to play the Holocaust card so often? Is it because he feels that his other arguments are beginning to sound increasingly hollow, is this his last resort? Is he not afraid of trivializing the Shoah?
Haaretz 27 May -- Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday. Canada's right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost. [G8 comprises the eight leading 'market-economies' in the world.]
JNF UK has declined to say why Prime Minister David Cameron's name has disappeared from its list of honorary patrons.
Twelve days ago the pro-Palestinian Stop the JNF campaign wrote to Mr Cameron, reiterating a previous request for him to withdraw as patron of the charity.
Mortaza Sahibzada, of Stop the JNF, said: "His name has been taken off the list and that is significant. Someone has decided to take it off and I doubt whether it was JNF." Mr Cameron became an honorary patron of JNF five years ago, whose other patrons still include Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
In its latest letter to Mr Cameron, Stop the JNF complained that the JNF British Park was planted on the ruins of two Palestinian villages after the 1948 war.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
“He (Netanyahu) thinks he is the superpower and we are here to do whatever he requires. Who’s the (expletive) superpower here”?”
–after meeting with the newly elected Benjamin Netanyahu
Under International Law and America’s War Crimes Act, all U.S. Presidents and the 535 members of the U.S. Congress are “complicitors” in Israel’s long history of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; and as such are “war criminals” themselves.
Since 1922’s Congressional Adoption and Support of the illegal Balfour “Declaration” gifting Palestine to European Jews as “A”, not “The”, national homeland for Jews, Congress and every Administration have either remained silent or directly and indirectly supported Zionism’s use of terrorism and force to ethnically cleanse Palestine’s indigenous inhabitants and strongly supported the establishment of an illegal nation that was founded by terrorism and lives by terrorism. By being complicitors in such war crimes they are under International Law guilty of war crimes themselves.
NEW YORK (AP) — Long before Public Enemy urged the need to "Gil-Scott Heron was articulating the rage and the disillusionment of the black masses through song and spoken word." or N.W.A. offered a crude rebuke of the police,
Scott-Heron, widely considered one of the godfathers of rap with his piercing social and political prose laid against the backdrop of minimalist percussion, flute and other instrumentation, died on Friday at age 62. His was a life full of groundbreaking, revolutionary music and personal turmoil that included a battle with crack cocaine and stints behind bars in his later years.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
|Netanyahu's uncompromising stance is not grounded in unfolding events, and if his rejectionist policy continues, it will reinforce the idea of a bi-national one-state solution |
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address US legislators on Tuesday. He will, no doubt, tell members of Congress that he supports a two-state solution, but his support will be predicated on four negative principles: no to Israel's full withdrawal to the 1967 borders; no to the division of Jerusalem; no to the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and no to a Palestinian military presence in the new state.
The problem with Netanyahu's approach is not so much that it is informed by a rejectionist worldview. The problem is not even Netanyahu's distorted conception of Palestine's future sovereignty, whichaptly described as "scattered, lacking any cohesive physical infrastructure, with no direct connection to the outside world, and limited to the height of its residential buildings and the depth of its graves. The airspace and the water resources will remain under Israeli control..."
Rather, the real problem is that Netanyahu's outlook is totally detached from current political developments, particularly the changing power relations both in the Middle East and around the world. Indeed, his approach is totally anachronistic.
|'In Judea and Samaria, Israelis are not foreign occupiers', Israel's Netanyahu told the US Congress|
If anyone had any doubt about whether the Palestinians would declare a state in September, they can't have them now.On Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Congress that essentially was a series of insults to Palestinians and every insult was met by applause and standing ovations.
In fact, Netanyahu's appearance itself was an insult.
In the entire history of the United States, only four foreign leaders have addressed joint sessions of Congress more than once.
Read more-Al Jazeera
|There have been several attempts, some successful, to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip |
Egypt will permanently open its Rafah border crossing starting from Saturday, the country's official news agency reported, easing a four-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The news agency MENA said on Wednesday that Egypt's new military rulers had set the date for the opening of the crossing as part of efforts "to end the status of the Palestinian division and achieve national reconciliation".
It said the Rafah border crossing would be opened permanently, starting on Saturday, from 9am to 9pm every day except Fridays and holidays.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
We can only pray that Congress’s supine conduct before a rightwing foreign leader will have political consequences
"In Israel they say that the occupation devoured Israeli politics so that everyone is beholden to the settlers, well the same thing is happening to American politics and today it was evident. I'm not the only one to feel shattered by Netanyahu's bravura performance in Congress today laying claim to the West Bank as the ancestral Jewish homeland-- and the Congress's prostrate acceptance of his rightwing declarations.
"In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers," he said to a standing ovation-- I even saw John Kerry standing. "We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo."
And Netanyahu got the same standing ovation when he said, crazily: "Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians."
It was an address with no destination, filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions. Only rarely is a foreign head of state invited to speak before Congress. It's unlikely that any other has attempted to sell them such a pile of propaganda and prevarication, such hypocrisy and sanctimony as Benjamin Netanyahu did yesterday.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Interviews with several AIPAC delegates in the streets outside the conference reveals widespread ignorance by attendees of the controversial annual DC meeting.
"one interviewee could not distinguish Palestine from Pakistan."
When you think that those vicious nutjobs are the driving force behind US foreign policy in regards to Israel/Palestine AND the region!
Haaretz 23 May -- "President Obama doesn't understand the reality," according to "associates" of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke after the meeting between the two leaders ... You can't blame him: It really is impossible to understand this reality. It's impossible to understand why a country and a people continue to refuse to do the right thing, something that could have been done a long while back, and prefer to continue to bang their heads against the wall until blood flows, with absolutely no logic, literally amok, like someone who has gone insane. It's hard to understand a reality in which a prime minister sits and, contrary to all logic and every code of conduct, arrogantly lectures his host, the president of the United States. It's hard to understand a reality in which a day before their scheduled meeting, a prime minister responds to the speech of the U.S. president, who is about to host him, with an announcement that is as good as spitting in his face. So President Obama, here is the reality: The reality is that in the prime minister's own reality show, he is "the leader of a persecuted people" and he likes being "the leader of a persecuted people." That is why no reality in the world has ever convinced our leaders to stop being a persecuted nation.
Haaretz 23 May -- Evelyn Belseng had a son with her Israeli husband, who passed away shortly after; she is set to be deported despite declarations by Interior Minister Eli Yishai that she would be allowed to stay.
Haaretz 23 May -- AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr said Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama should not take an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict, as it puts Israel at a disadvantage ... "In a world which is demonstrably on the side of the Palestinians and Arabs - where Israel stands virtually alone - the United States has a special role to play," said the AIPAC director.
Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar responded by saying, "Clearly Obama's plan is no different, aside from a few small details, from that of George Bush. Now he refers to the 1967 borders as sacred, but who says we accept them, and that we won't speak of the '48 lines?" he told al-Emarat al-Youm.
AP 23 May -- JERUSALEM -- U.S.-Israel tension over Barack Obama's endorsement of Israel's pre-1967 borders is obscuring a flip side of the Middle East coin: The past days' speeches by the U.S. president contained difficult challenges for the Palestinians as well ... Most difficult for Palestinians is Obama's call to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, essentially requiring the Palestinians to accept that most refugees will be denied the "right of return" to what is now Israel. Perhaps for this reason, the Palestinians have remained largely quiet about the substance of Obama's speeches, seemingly content to watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clash with the U.S. administration over Israel's future borders. "It's really premature to jump into any of these details," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, when asked by The Associated Press about the demands Obama made of the Palestinians.
Haaretz 23 May -- Israel's West Bank military court was debated in two sessions of the House of Lords, with a focus on the issue of the detention and sentencing conditions for Palestinian minors by the Israeli military ... Lord Alf Dubs made the following statement to the House of Lords on May 4: "My Lords, I recently visited the West Bank; it was my first time there ... In the court we visited we saw a 14 year-old and a 15-year-old, one of them in tears, both looking absolutely bewildered. What shocked me as much as anything was to see that these young persons - children - had chains or shackles around their ankles while sitting in court ... When being interrogated these young people do not have the security of video recordings, lawyers or parents present ... "The court proceedings are in Hebrew, with translations of a doubtful quality. The verdicts are mostly based on uncorroborated confession evidence..." ... But perhaps Lord Dubs himself, of Britain's Labor Party, would interest our legislators. At the age of six he was one of 669 mostly Jewish children that British citizens evacuated from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
+972mag 23 May -- Why settlers lie and claim that an article of the UN charter grants “eternal rights” to Jews in Palestine -- A bunch of senior settlers – Gershon Messica, Boaz Ha’etzni, Benni Katzover, Ariel mayor Ron Nahman, and others – have boldly gone where no nutjob has gone before. They sent a threatening letter to the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki Moon (Hebrew), stiffly informing him that if he would not stop his odious custom of noting facts and referring to the West Bank as an occupied territory, they will sue him an international court, and demand damages. Whatever for? Well, the NRG article breathlessly informs that Moon’s statements contradict Article 80 of the UN Charter of 1945, known colloquially as the "Eretz Israel article," which, claim the settlers, lays down the "judicial rights of the Jewish people for Eretz Israel as eternal rights, which cannot be abrogated without the agreement of the Jewish people." This seemed rather strange. I mean, if such an article existed, I’m pretty certain I’d have heard of it by now.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Guardian 18 May -- Author of op-ed article in Jewish Chronicle tells me he 'rejoiced' at death of 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."
Haaretz 18 May -- Israel crowns itself as the winner in the global competition of victimhood; yet it manufactures methods of oppression and dispossession -- How natural it is for Israeli spokesmen to assert that the Nakba Day marches from Syria and Lebanon were the product of incitement and foreign calculations. The state, which bases its existence on 2,000 years of longing for and belonging to this country, shows contempt toward palpable displays of belonging to and longing for the same country of those who we expelled 63 years ago - and of their descendants.
972mag 16 May -- Breaking the Silence, the organization of former Israeli soldiers who literally 'break their silence ' by sharing experiences from their military service and exposing the IDF to criticism, launched a video campaign on YouTube this week in which soldiers are seen identifying themselves for the first time in front of the camera ... Here is another video of a former border policewoman. Yesterday, BTS’ website was hacked and it was impossible to access it for most of the day. But now it is back up.
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 May -- A political adviser to the late president Yasser Arafat issued a statement Tuesday, alleging that US Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell resigned because of the "extreme bias" of his deputy Dennis Ross. Bassam Abu Shareef said Ross obstructed all US initiatives aiming to achieve progress in the peace process ... The official paraphrased comments he said were made by Mitchell during a meeting, where he asked: "How can Dennis Ross assist in the peace process when he refuses to meet with the Palestinians, when he despises their leadership and hates their president?"
Settlers enter village late at night, steal 7 sheep, kill two, blind another, and spill yogurt and water
AIC 16 May -- Late last night (15 May), Israeli settlers invaded the village of Tuba, damaged property, and killed and stole several sheep belonging to the Ali Awad family.
Palestinians of Tuba reported that they counted seven masked settlers, who entered and left the village on foot, and saw two cars at the outskirts of Tuba, near the chicken barns of Ma'on settlement. The rampaging settlers stole seven sheep, killed two, and injured others, including one which lost an eye. In addition, the settlers upended three water tanks, which held a total of 4.5 cubic meters of water. They destroyed fences, punctured a storage tent and three large sacks of yogurt, damaged a goat pen and destroyed the ventilation pipe of an outhouse. They also set loose a donkey, which later returned.
Israel actions 'surpass barbarism of apartheid South Africa', group says after Na'eem Jeenah deportation
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign of South Africa (PSC) has confirmed that prominent scholar Na’eem Jeenah is expected back in Johannesburg Thursday morning after he was detained by Israeli authorities, interrogated and held incommunicado on arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on 17 May, before being deported to Istanbul without his passport or belongings.
Read more-Electronic Intifada
Read more-Common dreams
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Jewish donors and fund-raisers are warning the Obama re-election campaign that the president is at risk of losing financial support because of concerns about his handling of Israel.
The complaints began early in President Barack Obama's term, centered on a perception that Mr. Obama has been too tough on Israel.
Some Jewish donors say Mr. Obama has pushed Israeli leaders too hard to halt construction of housing settlements in disputed territory, a longstanding element of U.S. policy. Some also worry that Mr. Obama is putting more pressure on the Israelis than the Palestinians to enter peace negotiations, and say they are disappointed Mr. Obama has not visited Israel yet.
One top Democratic fund-raiser, Miami developer Michael Adler, said he urged Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to be "extremely proactive" in countering the perception in the Jewish community that Mr. Obama is too critical of Israel.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
san antonio community organizers stood in solidarity with palestine on may 15 2011 and disrupted Cornerstone Church's "honor to israel" service performed by john hagee.
Noga Kadman’s landmark book, Erased from Space and Consciousness (Hebrew, November Books, 2008), tracks a key element of the history of the Nakba: The absorption of the remains of over 400 Palestinian villages scattered across historic Palestine into the Israeli geographical and emotional landscape. She shares with us two excerpts from the book: The introduction, describing the work she’s done to track the process; and a part from Chapter Five of the book, listing quotes from the memoirs and journals books of the Jewish communities planted near or on top depopulated Palestinian villages – often within days or weeks of the original inhabitants’ departure. Some of these Israelis appear to be more honest about the facts and moral aspects of the Nakba then their descendants 63 years on. An article based on this chapter is due to appear in an upcoming compilation of article to be published by the Van Leer Institute; the book itself is currently looking for an English publisher.
After the war, the new State of Israel contained over 400 depopulated villages and 11 cities emptied of all or most of their Arab residents. Israel prevented these residents, who escaped or were expelled across the border from returning home, making the majority of Palestinians refugees.
May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is leading a counter- revolution against the sweeping political changes in the Middle East by using money, force and God.
As popular movements for democracy toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and began threatening neighboring Bahrain and Yemen, Saudi Arabia's Al Saud royal family strengthened control over the Arab world's biggest economy. Once restrictive of the Muslim clerics, King Abdullah offered money and new censorship powers for their loyalty as he doled out 500 billion riyals ($130 billion) nationally in housing grants and other sweeteners.
Syrian activists say a mass grave containing the bodies of protesters shot by Syrian forces has been discovered in Deraa.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr has more in this report that contains images some may find disturbing.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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.
Palestinian commentators and organisers, including Fadi Elsalameen and Moustafa Barghouthi, have spent the last couple of years pointing out that these complaints resolutely ignore the actual and growing Palestinian non-violent resistance movement. For that matter, they elide the fact that the first intifada, which broke out in 1987, was initially as close to non-violent as could be reasonably expected. For the most part, it consisted of general strikes and protest marches. In addition, there was a fair amount of kids throwing rocks, as well as the continuing threat of low-level terrorism, mainly from organisations based abroad; the Israelis conflated the autochthonous protest movement with the terrorism and responded brutally, and the intifada quickly lost its non-violent character. That's not that different from what has happened over the past couple of months in Libya; it shows that it's very hard to keep a non-violent movement non-violent when the government you're demonstrating against subjects you to gunfire for a sustained period of time.
Make no mistake! They will return. Israel can only accept the unfolding reality of the Palestinian resilience!!
Potential new flashpoints in the Middle East unrest have opened after Israel shot at pro-Palestinian protesters on its borders with Syria and Lebanon, killing at least 13 people and drawing furious condemnation from the Syrian regime.
Protests erupted in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as well as on Israel's geopolitically sensitive northern borders, as Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops and police and hundreds were injured.
Demonstrators commemorating Nakba day, marking the 1948 war in which hundreds of thousands of people became refugees after being forced out of their homes, were met with live gunfire, rubber bullets, stun grenades and teargas.
SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine.
This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.
That lousy Lebanese Army: Wlah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the first time in 63 years of being outcast from their home land, some 50,000 Palestinians have flooded the border of Lebanon and Palestine
Press TV speaks with Franklin Lamb, international lawyer participating in the NAKBA commemoration and witnessing the extraordinary scenes at the Lebanese border. Following is a transcription of that interview.
Press TV: On this anniversary of NAKBA, so far we have 65 people injured and at least one person killed; we have reports of a journalist being critically injured in Gaza. We also have reports of 30 Palestinians hurt and four killed in Southern Lebanon. Do you think the Israelis are feeling they can get away with this violence without pressure or consequences from the international community?
Franklin Lamb: I'm at Maruno rock and your report is not accurate. There are 7 killed and maybe 18 wounded. I'm standing in the midst of thousands and thousands of Palestinians pushing their way into Palestine. Thousands more are still arriving here even though the ceremonies have ended because they are arriving late from areas far away.
Literally hundreds of buses have arrived. Hezbollah has arranged for 200 more buses to come from Syria; Palestinians from Syria. They are still arriving and I am amazed at what I am seeing. I've seen so many babies and so many pregnant women on so many buses here that you have to walk the last four or five miles up hills and through fields; there are people on crutches, old people. If there is anybody who thinks Palestine is not going to be liberated let them come to Maruno rock this May 15th.
This is a historic event similar to the freedom marches America used to have in the 1960s civil rights movement -- the spirit is so great. This is a momentous historic event of NAKBA and the need to be liberated because of the Arab and Islamic awakening and this is part of that awakening. It's amazing -- I've been to a lot of demonstrations -- nothing like this. Nothing like this has occurred on the question of Palestine for the past 63 years.
Press TV: On other occasions of the NAKBA there have been commemorations. So you're saying that it's starkly different from previous commemorations?
Franklin Lamb: Yes. The Palestinians of Lebanon have virtually no civil rights, it's a huge crime. But they have never been allowed -- I see people now looking at Palestine crying -- they have never been allowed to come south of the Litani river by discriminatory laws passed by the Lebanese parliament.
So what's unique about this and why it caught on is that this is the first chance in 63 years for many of these people crowded on hundreds and hundreds of buses to see Palestine. That's why it's different.
What happened is certain objected to it, but the resistance of Palestinians said we're coming so they allowed them to come for the first time in more than half a century. They're sitting here and many want to go to Akka. If you stand on a pole here you can see Akka -- it's about 30 miles away from here, but you can see it.
There are 250,000 Palestinians in Lebanon living in terrible conditions; I'm going to guess that there are at least 50,000 or 20% of the Palestinians in Lebanon here today and I think it's the beginning of a massive massive intifada.
Monday, May 16, 2011
|In addition to military sieges and assaults in Syrian cities, those critical of the regime face the possibility of imprisonment and 'rampant torture' |
As the fists and boots and sticks pummelled his body and bloodied his face, the college student screamed out what he thought his interrogators wanted to hear: The name of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad.
It worked. The secret policemen tired of beating him for the day and threw him back into the makeshift cell, a room inside the power station in Banias, where local prisons are full to bursting from a wave of arrests ahead of the military assault on the port city, which began earlier this month.
The respite was short-lived. Handcuffed by his wrists and ankles and blindfolded, the student, who gave testimony to a trusted local activist on condition of anonymity, was led to a car and driven to another torture cell.
|The allegations seriously jeopardise Strauss-Kahn's political future in France |
A New York court appearance by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the International Monetary Fund [IMF] chief, to face charges he sexually assaulted a hotel chambermaid has been postponed so he can undergo an examination, his lawyers have said.
"Our client willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination tonight [Sunday] ... at the request of the government and in light of the hour we have agreed to postpone the arraignment until tomorrow morning," William Taylor, his lawyer, told reporters outside Manhattan Criminal Court.
"He's tired but he's fine," Taylor said when asked about Strauss-Kahn, who was led away from a police station in handcuffs and is currently placed behind bars.
|The Israeli Knesset has passed some 20 new laws that have been characterised as undemocratic and racist - and target the country's Arab minority and the occupied Palestinians |
"Bad laws," Edmund Burke once said, "are the worst sort of tyranny."The millions of people who have been protesting - from Tunis, Egypt and Libya, to Bahrain, Yemen and Syria - appear to have recognised this truism and are demanding the end of emergency law and the drafting of new constitutions that will guarantee the separation of powers, free, fair and regular elections, and basic political, social and economic rights for all citizens.
To put it succinctly, they are fighting to end tyranny.
Within this dramatic context it is also fruitful to look at Israel, which is considered by many as the only democracy in the Middle East and which has, in many ways, been an outlier in the region. One might ask whether Israel or not stands as a beacon of light for those fighting tyranny.
On the one hand, the book of laws under which Israel's citizenry live is - with the exception of a handful of significant laws that privilege Jews over non-Jews - currently very similar to those used in most liberal democracies, where the executive, legislative and judicial powers are separated, there are free, fair and regular elections, and the citizens enjoy basic rights - including freedom of expression and association.
On 63rd anniversary of Israel's foundation, the Palestinians' "catastrophe", the occupying state dashes hope of justice.
The scale of the devastation was overwhelming: four in five Palestinian villages inside the borders of the new state were ethnically cleansed, an act of mass dispossession accompanied by atrocities. Around 95 per cent of new Jewish communities built between 1948-1953 were established on the land of expelled, denationalised Palestinians.
Referring to these refugees, Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion famously said that "the old will die and the young will forget". In fact, rather than "forgetting", the Nakba has become one of the central foundations for activism by Palestinians - and their supporters - around the world.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Reports: Four people killed on Syrian border, four killed on Lebanon border as thousands of protesters try breach the frontiers; dozens of Palestinian refugees reach Israel from Syria.
Four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops Sunday as they opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying to breach Syria's southern border with Israel. Another four people were said to have been killed on the Lebanese side of its shared frontier with Israel, as Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day. which mourns the creation of the State of Israel, took hold across the region.
In Majdal Shams, which runs along the Israel-Syria border, scores of Palestinian refugees from Syria spilled into the town. The Magen David Adom rescue service said about a dozen others had been wounded. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed opening fire on infiltrators.
A woman has been killed and a Lebanese soldier among five injured following gunfire at a border crossing between Syria and northern Lebanon.
The incident occurred near the Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled on Sunday. Thousands of Syrians have arrived at the border, fleeing a crackdown in the neighbouring town of Talkalakh, around five kilometres away.
The Syrian army surrounded and attacked Talkalakh on Saturday after a protest there the day before against the government of president Bashar al-Assad. At least four people were killed in the Saturday incursion.
Witnesses said those killed on Saturday were among dozens attempting to leave Talkalakh and enter Lebanon.
Read more-Al Jazeera
Israeli police flooded the streets of Jerusalem on Friday, fearing violence as Palestinians began marking the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" that befell them following Israel's establishment in 1948. Police said around 8,000 worshippers turned up for Friday Muslim prayers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound inside the Old City. Hundreds more were left outside the gates, with police refusing to admit men under 45 who did not hold a blue Israeli identity card, AFP correspondents said.
أعلام فلسطين ترفرف في سماء تل أبيب لأول مرة منذ 1948
Moon of Alabama
It is claimed that the raid on the Bin Laden home in Abbottabad also caught a huge amount of data from computer storage devices allegedly found there.
Because no one else has this alleged data, the administration can use it as cover to claim anything about anyone. As I half jokingly wrote:
I am told that the huge amount of data found on DVD disks and memory sticks during the alleged assassination of Osama bin Laden contains proof of a railway plot and also reveals that:
a. Iran will have nuclear weapons within three years,
b. Iran's president Ahmedinejad uses sorcery,
c. Iran's supreme leader Khamenei has a chronic flatulence problem,
d. Iran has special trucks in which Khamenei produces those deadly islamist bio-weapons which makes him the world's greatest threat.
Other great, top secret facts from the found data will be revaled by the administration whenever it will fit its agenda.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
by Gideon Levy - Haaretz – 12 May 2011It happened on the day after Independence Day, when Israel was immersed in praise of itself and its democracy almost ad nauseam, and on the eve of (virtually outlawed ) Nakba Day, when the Palestinian people mark the “catastrophe” – the anniversary of the creation of Israel. My colleague Akiva Eldar published what we have always known but for which we lacked the shocking figures he revealed: By the time of the Oslo Accords, Israel had revoked the residency of 140,000 Palestinians from the West Bank. In other words, 14 percent of West Bank residents who dared to go abroad had their right to return to Israel and live here denied forever. In other words, they were expelled from their land and their homes. In other words: ethnic cleansing.
My comment is brief. Israel has to go!
Egyptian troops are out in force in central Cairo after weekend riots left 12 people dead and more than 200 injured.
Authorities on Monday said they have arrested the man behind a protest that sparked two days of sectarian violence.
Ali Yassin Mohamed is among 25 people arrested on Monday and will face a military court. Mohamed is a Muslim and says his wife was kidnapped after converting from Christianity to Islam.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian army is continuing to protect a church set on fire during the sectarian clashes. Services have resumed at St Mary's church in the Imbaba suburb of Cairo, which was damaged in Saturday's fire.
Clashes between Muslims and Copts have raised fears that more sectarian strife could erupt in the country which remains under military rule three months after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power.
Al Jazeera's Jamal El-Shayyal, reporting from the Egyptian capital, said the situation on the ground remained calm but very tense on Monday.
"About 200 Egyptian Christians remain camped outside the state-owned television in what they say is an open-ended sit-in," he said.
"Some are demanding the resignation of chief military ruler Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, others are just calling for justice to be handed to those who were behind the attacks on the churches in Imbaba."
|Activists have called on Egyptians to demonstrate against sectarianism [Adam Makary]|
Thousands of people have gathered in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, rallying for different causes.
Activists had called for a mass show of unity on Friday, a week after 15 people were killed in sectarian violence in the country.
But many of those gathered in the square were there to show their support for Palestinian unity, ahead of "Nakba day", marking the creation of the state of Israel and displacement of thousands of Palestinians.
Demonstrators also celebrated the reconciliation deal signed recently between Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions.
Meanwhile, a few hundred Copts staged a sit-in outside the state television headquarters, calling for justice over the weekend's sectarian violence.
Footage from Tahrir Square showed people waving Palestinian flags and banners with slogans for Egyptian national unity.
Up to six people are reported to have been killed in protests across Syria despite an order from the country's president, Bashar al-Assad, to security forces not to fire on protesters.
A leading human rights activist said on Friday three people were killed in Homs, two in Damascus and one in a village outside Deraa, the southern city where the revolt began two months ago. He asked that his name not be used for fear of government reprisal.
"At first they opened fire in the air, but the people continued on their way, and then they shot directly into the crowd," an eyewitness told the Associated Press news agency by telephone from Homs.
Another rights campaigner said security police fired at a night demonstration in the eastern town of Mayadeen, injuring four people.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the source of gunfire was unclear and that the police were investigating, while a relative told AFP that a Jewish settler had shot Ayyash in the stomach.
Local sources in Silwan told Al Jazeera that only tear gas was used in the clashes that erupted between Palestinian boys and the Israeli police on Friday.
Friday, May 13, 2011
David Kenner-Foreign Policy
With one sentence, the New York Times raised dozens of Middle East pundits' hopes that their words were reaching the most powerful man in the world. "At night in the family residence...Mr. Obama often surfs the blogs of experts on Arab affairs or regional news sites to get a local flavor for events," read Mark Landler's account of how the Obama administration will attempt to use the killing of Osama bin Laden to recast the U.S. relationship with the Arab world.
Well, Mr. President, we have some late-night reading suggestions for you. First, of course, there's Marc Lynch and the Middle East Channel - Foreign Policy's own contribution to the fast-changing world of politics in the Arab world. But there's also an entire community of Middle East bloggers who obsessively follow and comment on developments in their countries, and throughout the region.
Caveat emptor: Many of these authors will take you outside the comfort zone of the Washington policy debate. What's more, if you tried to gather them all in one room, you'd be virtually guaranteed a fight. But these blogs will also give you a more realistic sense of the political conversation in the Arab world. Don't stay up too late - you have a full-time job, after all.
Broader Middle EastBrian Whitaker
Long before Muhammad Bouazizi there was Muhammad al-Dura. The horrific footage of the 12-year-old Palestinian boy gunned down by Israeli soldiers while seeking refuge alongside his father in September 2000 was one of the sparks that made protests spread across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The second intifada, like the first intifada (1987-1993) before it, was a popular grassroots uprising against Israeli occupation. It was these intifadas that have made the Arabic word for uprising largely synonymous with the Palestinian liberation struggle — and made the word universally understood all over the world.