Monday, May 30, 2011

Headlines for May 12 - May 18

A Stand For Justice

Bloodshed on Israel borders on Nakba Day
Israeli gunfire killed at least two people on the border with Lebanon as thousands of mainly Palestinian refugees demonstrated along the tense frontier, according to a Lebanese security official.

And Israel's military said dozens of people were wounded when the army opened fire at "thousands" of protesters crossing from Syria into the Israeli–annexed Golan Heights

Israeli troops fire at Palestinian protesters on borders, killing at least 12
Thousands of Palestinians marched from Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank toward Israeli border positions on Sunday, hurling rocks and surging across one frontier before the Israeli army opened fire, killing at least 12 people and injuring scores.

Israeli troops clash with protesters
Thousands of Arab protesters tried to burst through border fences along Israel on Sunday, and at least 15 people were killed when Israeli defense forces fired to keep them out.

Palestinian teen dies of gunshot in east Jerusalem
Fahri Abu Diab, a local activist in east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, said Palestinians threw stones Friday at a Jewish settler enclave in the area, known as Beit Yonathan. Abu Diab said Ayyash was close to the enclave, and that a settler guard fired from the rooftop at the stone throwers. He said Israeli border police fired tear gas, but not live rounds.

Hebron Commemorates Nakba May 15
“Their independence is our Nakba.” This banner on the streets of Bethlehem says it all. What Israel considers the beginning of their state since 1948 was the “Great Catastrophe” for the Palestinians. Nakba, for the Palestinans, is the day remembering the loss of over 400 of their villages to the invading Israeli armed militias. At that time hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to other parts of Israel, to Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. More than 750,000 lost their homes, set up camps and waited for the day when under international law they would return to their homes.

Mideast envoy resigns as US refocuses on region
With Israelis suspicious of Obama even before he assumed office, Mitchell further unnerved them by taking a tough line against West Bank settlements, saying that any construction was unacceptable. The Palestinians, initially encouraged, became disillusioned when the U.S. was unable to persuade Israel to freeze settlement construction.

Israel to transfer cash to Palestinian government
Israel collects tax funds and customs fees from Palestinians who work in Israel on the Palestinians' behalf. It is supposed to transfer the money to the Western–backed Palestinian Authority.

But it held up the transfer this month, saying it feared money would reach militants in the Hamas–ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel hunts Syria infiltrators after day of bloodshed
Interviewed by Israel's privately owned Channel 10 television, Hijazi spoke of his pride at making it to Jaffa, his ancestral hometown, now a mixed Arab–Jewish district of greater Tel Aviv.

"This isn't Israel, this is my country," he said. "I don't want to go back to Syria. I want to stay here where my father and my great–grandfather were born and bring my family here."

Hamas sends signals of moderation to West

Arab protesters descend on Israeli borders
Sunday's unrest – which came after activists used Facebook and other websites to mobilize Palestinians and their supporters in neighboring countries to march on the border with Israel – marked the first time the protests that have swept the Arab world in recent months have been directed at Israel.

The events carried a message for Israel: Even as it wrestles with the Palestinian demand for a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem – areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war – there is a related problem of neighboring countries that host millions of Palestinians with aspirations to return.

U.S. Congress members to Turkey's Erdogan: Stop Gaza flotilla
Members of the U.S. Congress issued a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in which they urge Turkey's premier to stop the departure of another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. For whom do these Congresspersons work?

Israel blocks anti-war activists' ship from Gaza
The military said it ordered the ship to return to an Egyptian port where it had been anchored for several days. But it said the vessel disregarded the order, prompting it to fire warning shots. The ship then changed course to return to Egypt.

Rampaging Israeli settlers invade Palestinian village of Tuba
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.

At-Tuwani: Palestinian trees destroyed in ongoing settler vandalism
In the early morning of 12 May 2011, Palestinian farmers discovered
that during the night unknown perpetrators had vandalized ten olive
trees in Humra valley, near At -Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The
trees and the land belong to At-Tuwani resident Salman Jibrin Raba'i.
The evidence suggests that the vandals sawed and then broke branches
off the trees, completely destroying seven trees and partially
damaging another three.

Palestinian president declares three days of mourning
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, yesterday declared three days of mourning for 15 people killed in mass marches toward multiple Israeli borders that marked a stunning new tactic in the struggle for Palestinian statehood.

Photographer deliberately shot by Israeli soldier during Nakba Day clashes
Reporters Without Borders was told that Othman was clearly identifiable as a journalist at the time of the shooting and was deliberately targeted. The press freedom organization urges the Israeli authorities to investigate the circumstances in which he was shot and punish those responsible.

Army dogs wage war on illegal Palestinian workers
Palestinians desperate for work in Israel will go to extremes to sneak past the West Bank barrier, but now they face a new hurdle –– army attack dogs sent to sniff them out.

Bibi Prepares To Address a Friendly Congress, an Impatient White House
In his address Netanyahu is expected to use the strong backing he enjoys in Congress to counter the administration’s anticipation of a bold new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A foreign leader has more weight over Congress than the American president. See a problem here? It's treason.

Abbas urges UN: Recognize Palestinian state, pave way for legal action against Israel
"It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice," he added, saying that the Palestinians were going to the UN "to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own."

Palestinians postpone local elections to October
"Palestine would be negotiating from the position of one United Nations member whose territory is militarily occupied by another ... and not as a vanquished people ready to accept whatever terms are put in front of us," Mahmoud Abbas wrote in The New York Times, presenting his most detailed explanation yet of his reasons for the U.N. bid.

Israel burnishes missile shield as Mideast churns
Partly funded by the United States, Arrow III is envisaged as the future Israeli bulwark against Iran and Syria, with shorter–range interceptors providing protection against rockets favored by neighboring Lebanese and Palestinian guerrillas.

Israel Hunts Syria Infiltrators After Day of Bloodshed
In Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories, people gathered to mourn the 14 people killed when Israeli troops opened fire on thousands of protesters who sought to breach its northern borders.

Egypt blocks Sinai access to halt Gaza march
On Thursday, an interior ministry statement affirmed Egypt's support for Palestinians but urged activists to cancel the march to avoid any risks it may pose for Egypt at this critical stage.

Obama's draft speech to urge '67 borders, negate PA's state bid
Obama is expected to urge Israel to return to the 1967 lines while negating the Palestinian Authority's planned unilateral bid for statehood in September.

Hamas accepts 1967 borders, but will never recognize Israel, top official says
Speaking to Ma'an on Wednesday, Zahar, hinting at the possible political line of a future Palestinian unity cabinet, said that recognizing Israel would "preclude the right of the next generations to liberate the lands," wondering: "What will be the fate of the five million Palestinians in the diaspora?"

The Long Overdue Palestinian State By MAHMOUD ABBAS
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.

Palestinians, Israeli troops clash over teen death
Masked Palestinians whirling slingshots clashed with Israeli riot police in two Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem on Saturday after the shooting death of a teenage stone thrower. It was a sign of rising tensions on the eve of Palestinian commemorations of their uprooting during Israel's 1948 creation.

Demjanjuk convicted over Nazi camp deaths
Now in the U.S., new litigation is under way following the AP report that brought to light the 1985 FBI report questioning the legitimacy of the Trawniki identity card used in the current prosecution. That revelation has led to new court action, with a federal judge in Cleveland agreeing this week to appoint a public defender to represent Demjanjuk there.

Demjanjuk Convicted — By the KGB By Patrick J. Buchanan
“A German court has found John Demjanjuk guilty of helping to murder more than 28,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp in Poland.”

Not until paragraph 17 does one find this jolting fact: “No evidence was produced that he committed a specific crime.”

Israel’s Security Elite Joins the Opposition
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the leaders of Israel’s security establishment, the people who’ve led the fight against the state’s enemies for decades, are more frightened now than they’ve been in a long time. You might be shocked, though, to hear what’s got them in a panic.

Israel was infiltrated, but no real borders were crossed
Therefore, on Sunday the Syrians penetrated an area held by the State of Israel, but they did not cross the Israeli border. Nor did Palestinians from the Gaza Strip attempt to cross the Israeli border in the south. They crossed the cease-fire line that was ratified in the Oslo Accords but never demarcated as a border between Israel and any neighbor in the south of the country.

Israel and Palestine Here comes your non-violent resistance
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?

Historian writes of 'pleasure' at murder of pro-Palestinian activist
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.

Former UN envoy: Israel's international status at all-time low

The Jewish Roots of Madoff's Crime
Madoff’s $50 billion fraud, which landed him in jail for the rest of his life; decimated hundreds, perhaps thousands, of investors, and left his own family in ruins, was not a Jewish crime — it was too far-flung and globalized to deserve that narrow description. It was a crime perpetuated by someone who happened to be Jewish. But now, two and a half years after Madoff’s arrest, Henriques’s work makes it evident that this was a crime enabled by Jewish businessmen like Chais, Shapiro, Levy and Picower; by Jewish power brokers like Ezra Merkin, and by Jewish institutions that gave into the allure of easy, reliable, bountiful money without doing the due diligence they owed their clients, donors and causes.

Gag order in case of Egyptian spying for Israel
An Egyptian court has imposed a gag order on the trial of a local businessman accused of spying on his country, Syria and Lebanon for Israel.

Those Irrepressible Neocons
Jennifer Rubin, on the other hand, was just one of those plugging along in Kingdom Neocon (she was a contributing editor to Commentary and its blog, Contentions) until recently, when the neocon editor of the Washington Post editorial page, Fred Hiatt, plucked her from obscurity and brought her to the Post.

Beyond their Commentary roots, the two are almost ideologically identical. And that means that they are both driven, above all other considerations, by dedication to the concept of Greater Israel (a concept which is taken more seriously inside the Beltway than it is in Israel itself).

....So let's not hear from this crowd about the poor Iranians or Syrians or Libyans, or whatever other group they suddenly profess to care about. Better they should think about those thousands of Americans, along with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who perished as a consequence of the horrific war they enthusiastically agitated for. Don't they have enough to atone for without adding more deadly U.S. military interventions? Beautiful piece.

Pollard Again By Philip Giraldi
The Lobby has been active lately in the lead-up to the AIPAC conference. A letter calling on Obama to free Pollard has been circulating since January and has attracted a number of endorsements including George Shultz. Last week 36 congressmen signed on to a letter originated by Rep. Steve Israel (no irony intended) calling on the Turkish government to stop the next aid flotilla planned for Gaza, which will likely depart next month. The letter implies that there will be dire consequences, and rightly so, if the ships are allowed to sail. Today the White House press secretary all but commended Israel for killing twenty protesters along the Syrian and Lebanese borders during demonstrations on Sunday, praising the “restraint” and noting that it was a proper remedy for “unauthorized border crossing.”

Arab Spring Fails to Improve U.S. Image
for the most part, Obama’s handling of issues in the Muslim world, including the recent uprisings in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran and Afghanistan, are met with disapproval.

The Bright Red Line
When a single member of CUNY’s board of trustees declared that Kushner’s views on Israel ought to disqualify him for this purely academic honor, the incendiary topic of where-you-stand-on-Israel was thrust into a place it did not belong. And a majority of the CUNY board, apparently flummoxed by this ridiculous charge, went along and tabled the nomination.

Three Mountains, Different Views
It is doubtful that the Palestinian residents of Hebron sympathize with the Tent of Nations slogan, “We refuse to be enemies.” It is, however, evident every day that the Jewish settlers here actively reject the slogan.

A High-Profile Call for Marriage Equality in Israel
If a Jew wants to marry a non-Jew, a Cohen wants to marry a divorced woman, or, of course, if two Jews of the same gender wish to wed, they are out of luck. The only way for these “forbidden matches” to be recognized legally is if they take place abroad.

Kushner Foe In Biggest Brawl of His Long Career
In 1999, Wiesenfeld’s name was linked to a Pataki administration scandal involving alleged political manipulation of the state parole board. Wiesenfeld was never charged with any crime, but federal officials probed allegations that a Pataki fundraiser had passed names of prisoners coming up for parole to Wiesenfeld, who sent inquiries — and, in at least one instance, a letter of recommendation on the governor’s stationery — to the parole board.

U.S. accuses Syria of inciting Israel border clashes
White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed regret for the loss of life in confrontations on Israel's frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday but said Israel "has the right to prevent unauthorized crossing at its borders." We're still Israel's bitch.

For the Best Argument Against a Unilateral Declaration of Statehood, Look to the Palestinians Themselves
In a March 2009 memo to the Palestinian leadership, the negotiating unit worried that if the International Criminal Court recognizes this truncated version of Palestine as a state before “the termination of the Israeli occupation,” it would not only “prejudice border negotiations from both legal/political and physical points of view,” but could also “weaken Palestine’s claim to the remaining part of the occupied Palestinian territory.”

I think the fear here is that with Israel's non-stop settlement-building, there isn't going to be anything left for a state by the time the Palestinians are granted one, if ever.

Peace prospects bleak for Netanyahu U.S. visit
There is little indication the right–wing leader will, or can, offer new peacemaking ideas to persuade Palestinians not to take a detour at the U.N. General Assembly in September around the brick wall that the U.S. peace efforts have run into.

AL-KHALIL/HEBRON: New video highlights the work of CPT Palestine

Produced, filmed and edited by journalist Catherine Rabenstine, the nine-minute
film interviews CPT's Palestinian partners who are resisting non-violently the
Israeli military occupation in Hebron/Al Khalil and the South Hebron Hills.
Rabenstine also interviews CPT Palestine members in the field, who describe
their work and their partnership with Palestinians practicing "sumoud," or
steadfastness, in raising their families, going to school and doing their work
in the face of enormous systematic violence imposed by the Israeli Occupation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Headlines for May 5 - May 11

A Stand For Justice

South Hebron Hills: Israeli military prolongs Amniyr closure
CPT has released a video of the evacuation of Amniyr, a Palestinian
village south of Yatta, carried out by the Israeli military on Friday,
May 6. After declaring the area a closed military zone, soldiers and
police used tear gas and sound grenades to chase away the families who
own the land. The previous day at 5 a.m., the military destroyed six
shacks and uprooted 150 olive trees in Amniyr, demolishing all the
structures in the village for the third time in about ten weeks.

EU approves $124 million in aid to PA after Israel blocks transfer of Palestinian funds
According to Reuters, the move was decided on after Israel on Sunday blocked the transfer of 105 million dollars in customs duties and other levies it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, following a deal to reunite the two rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.

UN chief to Netanyahu: Do not withhold tax revenues from PA

Hamas chief: We will coordinate all decisions regarding Israel with Fatah
Meshal stressed in the interview that "negotiations with Israel, domestic governance, foreign affairs, domestic security and resistance and other field activities" against Israel, would be reached in consensus with the Fatah.

Norway joins ranks supporting unified Palestine

Israeli PM's military attache skips UK visit for fear of arrest
Fearing possible arrest over alleged war crimes charges, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's military attache opted to avoid an official visit to Britain this week.

Israel Stripped 140,000 Palestinians of Residency Rights, Document Reveals
Israel stripped thousands of Palestinians of their right to live in the West Bank over a 27-year period, forcing most of them into permanent exile abroad, a document obtained under freedom of information laws has disclosed.

...Richard Falk, an investigator for the United Nations human rights council, described this as "the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians ... [which] can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing".

Erekat: Israel's cancelation of Palestinian residency is a 'war crime'
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday that Israel's cancelling of the residency status of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians, as reported by Haaretz, constitutes a war crime and represents an Israeli attempt to affect the demographic composition of the West Bank.

EU lawmakers pledge to take part in new Gaza flotilla
The flotilla is expected to reach the waters off Gaza in the third week of June, Greek organizer Vangelis Pissias said at a press conference hosted by European Union parliamentarians in Strasbourg.

HEBRON/AL-KHALIL: Settlers attack family home on Shuhada Street
According to the workers and the family, the Israeli military accompanied the
settlers and did nothing to stop the assault on the home. The police were
called, but never came to investigate.

Palestinians to ask UN to stop Israeli tax freeze
The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday voted to ask for United Nations intervention to lift an Israeli freeze on transfers of tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli military demolishes, then evacuates village of Amniyr
On Friday, May 6, the Israeli military declared the area of Amniyr, a
Palestinian village south of Yatta, a closed military zone and chased
away the families who own the land, after demolishing structures and
trees on the land the day before. The demolitions occurred at 5 a.m.
on Thursday, May 5, when the military destroyed six shacks and
uprooted 150 olive trees in Amniyr.

France: Peace talks soon or Palestinian state
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence if peace talks with Israel don't restart by September, dealing a tough setback to Israel's campaign to isolate the incoming Palestinian unity government.

The comments published Thursday – similar to a message from Britain a day earlier – suggest Europe may be inching toward a watershed moment, joining those in favor of recognizing Palestine even if there is no peace deal with Israel.

AL-KHALIL/HEBRON: The dayafter Bin Laden died.
I was in Hebron on September 11, 2001. I remember old men approaching me on the street, eyes full of tears, telling me that God would help me and my fellow citizens. Other Palestinian friends called us, sobbing, as they described what they were watching on TV......I asked a Hebronite friend what most Palestinians in Hebron were saying about Bin Laden's death. Most, he said, do not care. A small minority were upset about the killing. A much larger minority, himself included, thought Bin Laden deserved his fate. A member of the Christian Peacekeeper Teams in Hebron offers Palestinian perspectives that you won't find in mainstream American media

Israel defense minister: Iran won't bomb us
Israel's defense minister says even if Iran develops nuclear arms, it is unlikely to bomb Israel.

Former Mossad chief: Israel air strike on Iran 'stupidest thing I have ever heard'
When asked about what would happen in the aftermath of an Israeli attack Dagan said that: "It will be followed by a war with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end."

Bin Laden vows no US security in final tape: website
Addressing US President Barack Obama, he said: "America will not be able to dream of security until we live in security in Palestine. It is unfair that you live in peace while our brothers in Gaza live in insecurity."

"Accordingly, and with the will of God, our attacks will continue against you as long as your support for Israel continues," he warned in a message posted on, a conduit for Al–Qaeda communications. Wait, I thought they 'hated us for our freedoms'?...

AL-KHALIL: An open letter to Bill Clinton from the Christian Peacemaker Team in
Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron were witnesses in 1997 to the
attacks Israeli settlers made on the Palestinian laborers and USAID engineer
David Muirhead. As you probably know, these attacks and Israeli-imposed curfews
caused the renovations to end up costing U.S. taxpayers twice as much as

Tony Kushner Denied Honors Over Palestine
This week, the news hit that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, perhaps best known for his Angels in America, was being blocked from receiving an honorary degree from the City University of New York because of his views on Israel.

Petraeus: Can He Tell It Straight? By Ray McGovern
Iran will continue to loom large as a target for intelligence analysis during Petraeus’s tenure at CIA. What is disconcerting on that front is that Petraeus has been eager to serve up “intelligence” to portray Iran in the worst light. One rather strange but instructive example comes to mind. It involved a studied, if disingenuous, effort to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the “malignant” influence of Iran.......

Though Petraeus’s testimony might strike many of us as a no-brainer, not so for the neocons. They resist any suggestion that Israeli intransigence regarding peace talks on Palestine contributes to the dangers faced by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or by the American people from possible acts of terrorism at home.

US-Israeli relations: Obama back on top?
President George W Bush, surrounded by neocon advisers who viewed Arabs the same way the Israeli right did, was happy to conflate 9/11 and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israelis became us and the Palestinians became al Qaeda. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who had recognised Israel and worked with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to thwart terrorism, instantly became Osama bin Laden.

War is a Sticky Business by Philip Giraldi
And just to demonstrate that Washington continues to live in a complete fantasy world, wars four and five just might be hovering on the horizon. Last week Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham all called on the Obama Administration to get tough with Syria. They had better check first with their minders in Israel since it is by no means clear whether Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would welcome the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is, at least, predictable compared to whatever kind of regime would succeed him. And then there is Iran, always the enemy of choice, with a constant drumbeat from Tel Aviv and Washington.

Osama’s Undying Reach by Patrick J. Buchanan
Some yet argue that Osama and al-Qaida attacked us because they hate our freedoms. Why, then, did they fight the Russians? Did they hate the freedoms enjoyed by Soviet citizens in Leonid Brezhnev’s time?

In his 1998 declaration of war, Osama gave three reasons. Americans, he said, had deployed their infidel troops on sacred Saudi soil. Americans were strangling a crushed Iraqi people with murderous sanctions. Americans were enabling Zionists to oppress and rob Palestinian Arabs of their lands. His reasons for attacking us were available online at one point. But most Americans still believe - because they've been willfully deceived by government leaders - that we were attacked because of our freedoms. Lie.

Vanishing American Footprint by Patrick J. Buchanan
Why is America’s footprint shrinking in that part of the world?

First, Americans have never been less popular there, and one demand of every revolution is for a new government, independent of the United States, that will defend the national sovereignty.

Second, we are broke. We can no longer afford the bases. We can no longer afford the wars. We can no longer afford the aid.

Mordechai Vanunu Demands Revoking of His Israeli Citizenship
“I request that you set me free of Israel, since Israel does not want me nor do I want Israel,” he wrote. “I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don’t want to go on living here.”

Report: Qatar offering Israel gas
According to the reports, Qatar's Industry and Commerce Minister Hassan Abdulla Fakhro told his Israeli counterpart in a phone conversation that his country was willing to export natural gas to the Jewish state "for an unlimited period of time and below market prices".

The robbery is going off without a hitch
Once again, Israel is showing everyone who the real man is here. It is busy carrying out (yet another ) robbery in broad daylight of $105 million from the Palestinians. And as usual, it is going off without a hitch.

Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred
The poison of this rhetoric was on display a few days ago when a trustee of City University of New York blocked the playwright Tony Kushner, who is Jewish, from receiving an honorary doctorate because of Kushner’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The trustee, Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, labeling Kushner “an extremist,” told The New York Times that the Palestinians “who worship death for their children are not human.”

John Bolton: I care about things besides bombing Iran
Bolton is, of course, a single-issue guy. His issue is bombing Iran. That is the only reason why anyone has expressed any interest in him as a candidate: He is the man who promises to bomb Iran. Every foreign policy issue of our time looks like a nail to John Bolton, and his hammer is bombing Iran. John Bolton = Israel-firster and neocon extraordinaire.

Syrian shelling kills 18, evokes 1982 crackdown
The Syrian army shelled residential areas and unleashed gunmen Wednesday, and a human rights group said at least 18 people were killed, including an 8–year–old boy. The shelling of neighborhoods evoked memories of the Assad regime's brutal, 40–year legacy of crushing dissent. No action on the part of America is taken because Israel wants Assad to stay in power, as opposed to the action we took with Libya for its gunning down of protesters.

Ex-Israeli spymaster opposes Iran attack
Former spymaster Meir Dagan told a weekend conference that an effective attack on Iran would be difficult because Iranian nuclear facilities are scattered and mobile, Israeli media reported.

Dagan also cautioned that a strike would be liable to trigger war with Iran and possibly Syria.

Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases
Jewish communal mobilization against BDS has sometimes been overwhelming in its scale and, at times, apparently effective. In April 2010, local offices of the ADL, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Jewish Community Relations Council and J Street collaborated with the Berkeley Hillel and Israel’s consul general in San Francisco to devise a lobbying strategy to deprive BDS supporters at Berkeley of the student senate votes needed to overturn a presidential veto of a pro-BDS resolution that had passed days earlier. Intensive joint efforts by the groups succeeded in changing the votes of two senators and causing one to abstain. The attempt to overturn the veto failed.

Amid Syria's turmoil, Israel sees Assad as the lesser evil
"I prefer the political extremism of Assad over religious extremism," says Ayoub Kara, a parliament member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. "We don’t want religious extremism on the border."

WikiLeaks: U.S. saw Israeli firm's rise in Latin America as a threat
"Alfaro is increasingly open about his agenda to replace U.S. law enforcement and security support with Israelis and others," the cable said, adding that the move "bodes ill" for quelling narcotics activity and crime in Panama.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Headlines for April 28 - May 4

Apologies for the tardiness. I will try and get caught up in the days to follow.

A Stand For Justice

Prosperous but Unequal: OECD Report Spotlights Alarming Trend
Growing by 7.8% last year, the Israeli economy ranked fifth highest in growth among the group’s 34 members. Israel’s growth outstripped that of the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany and France.

Read that again. We are giving Israel BILLIONS of American taxpayer dollars each year. These are not loans. Meanwhile, across America, cities, towns and villages are having to make drastic budget cuts as Israel PROSPERS (at our expense. WHY? Ask your Congressman.

Israel Acquires Additional Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Lockheed Martin
Israel ordered its first C-130J in April 2010 and will receive that aircraft in spring 2013. The next two aircraft will be delivered in late 2013 and late 2014 respectively. The contract also covers a number of items to meet Israel’s unique operational requirements. The Israeli Air Force’s new Super Hercules are the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C-130J. At US taxpayers' expense, no doubt.

Egypt urges US to back Palestinian state declaration
The statement marks yet another big shift in Egypt's foreign policy.

The new call marks a move away from Egypt's past compliance with the United States and Israel, which have strongly opposed the Palestinian authority's campaign to win backing for a unilateral declaration of statehood.

Hamas leader Meshaal in Cairo to sign unity deal

Egypt to open Rafah border crossing with Gaza: FM
the fact that the new regime in Cairo was seeking to upgrade its ties with Gaza's Hamas rulers and was also seeking to better ties with long–time foe Iran, was an issue which could have strategic implications for Israel's national security

U.S. Congressmen call for cutting aid to a Fatah-Hamas government
Congresswomen Kay Granger of Texas and Nita Lowey of New York, Chair and Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, warning him of the implications of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation on the U.S. assistance (since 1994, it topped $ 3.5 billion, and the U.S. is also the largest donor to UNRWA, the agency taking care of the Palestinian refugees). For whom do these Congresspersons work?

Egypt sending team to Gaza to help implement Palestinian deal

Gaza demonstrators condemn death of bin Laden
About 25 people holding pictures and posters of bin Laden rallied outside a Gaza City university. The crowd included al–Qaida sympathizers as well as students who said they opposed bin Laden's ideology, but were angry at the U.S. for killing him and consider him a martyr. I will remind you that there are over 1 million Palestinians in Gaza, and another couple million in the West Bank. Predictably, this headline was put on the front page of Yahoo as was the case when in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the handful of Palestinians passing out candy was aired alongside footage of the carnage. Nah, there's nobody in the media that wants you to hate all Palestinians or anything..

Egypt Warns Israel: Don't Interfere With Opening of Gaza Border Crossing

Iranian state TV carries report of Israeli build-up
Iranian state television ran a report Monday saying Israeli military aircraft were massing at a U.S. air base in Iraq for a strike on Iran.

UN official: Israeli occupation killed 1,300 Palestinian children since 2000
According to Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli forces killed 1,335 children in direct military operations and arbitrary shootings. He pointed out that 17 children were killed in 2010 alone while collecting stones in the borders areas between Gaza and Israel. They were attempting to help their families rebuild their homes. Israel continues to prevent the import of building material into the Strip.

Surprise Palestinian unity deal challenges Israel
"The agreement between Fatah and the terror organization Hamas is a fatal mistake that will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and will sabotage chances of peace and stability in the region," Israeli President Shimon Peres said.

Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo
Abbas said Israel does not wish to see the Palestinians united because it thrives on their divisions. Divide and conquer is a strategy employed in the Middle East to lessen any threats, and so too is it employed here in the US. If everyone is at each other's throats here because of party line issues, then they aren't paying attention to the real problem in this country.

Popular Palestinian premier could be on way out
In a sign of what could lie ahead, Israel announced Sunday it was withholding a routine $89 million cash transfer – tax funds Israel collects and owes Fayyad's government – until it receives assurances the funds will not reach Hamas. Fayyad has warned that he won't be able to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants without this cash.

Israel: Cash transfer to Palestinians on hold
The current Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said the Israeli move Sunday would not affect the unity plan.

"We definitely will not stop the reconciliation because of these threats, and we are in contact with all the influential international forces and the international parties which can affect this matter to stop Israel from taking these steps," he said during a visit to Bethlehem.

What’s In It for Us, Mr. Obama? by Philip Giraldi
That Washington has become a victim of the internal politics of the Middle East is largely due to manipulation by Israel and its lobby, which has turned all Americans into enablers of Israeli policies, no matter how short-sighted or ill-conceived. It is the US national interest that has been sacrificed in the process. That is the point

....Several congressmen, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor explicitly stated their opposition to any reduction in aid to Israel. But the real surprise came in the final spending bill. Israel not only was not cut in its assistance level, it received $205 million in additional funding for its Iron Dome defensive missile development, which competes with US defense firm Raytheon’s Patriot system. Read that excerpt again, folks. As schools are being closed in YOUR towns and cities, we're still shoveling billions to Israel in order for it to continue to pillage and plunder Palestine.

Ashrawi urges international support for unity

As a Holocaust Survivor, AIPAC Doesn’t Speak for Me
At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible. My hat's off to Hedy Epstein, a brave woman.

Palin, former Pentagon official speaking in Colo.
Sarah Palin will share the stage in Colorado with a former senior military intelligence official who disparaged Islam while helping to lead the war on terror after Sept. 11.

Monday evening's speech was already scheduled before Sunday's killing of Osama bin Laden. The Republican former vice presidential candidate is speaking at a fundraiser at Colorado Christian University with Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin.

Who Is To Say When It’s Okay To Cry ‘Fire’?
Some people don’t want anyone discussing Israel’s bad side. In fact, we’ve got a whole network of organizations these days to monitor public discourse and let us know when somebody says the wrong things about Israel: JCC Watch to monitor the movies, Campus Watch to monitor the professors, Palestinian Media Watch, U.N. Watch, NGO (for non-governmental organization) Monitor and a whole potpourri of Watches and Watchamacallits checking up on newspapers, TV reporters and anybody else who might be saying bad things about Israel, including Israelis in their own country.

No kidding?

Ending the Culture of Silence
At the Passover Seder, we are supposed to ask questions about why things are done the way they are. Recently I asked some questions about the government-funded social service agency that serves my Jewish community in Brooklyn, the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council

Why/how is that religious organization 'government- funded'?

IAEA chief: Syria tried to build nuclear reactor
Suggesting that Amano had erred in making the public comments, the IAEA later put out a statement that he "did not say that the IAEA had reached the conclusion that the site was definitely a nuclear reactor."

Middle East politics at play in passport dispute
when the mother asked that her son's passport and other documents indicate that he was born in Israel, State Department officials refused, citing longstanding U.S. policy to refrain from expressing an official view about Jerusalem's status. Israel has proclaimed the once–divided city as its capital; the U.S. and most nations do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital.

A lawsuit followed. The dispute over Menachem's passport, a mix of the thorny politics of the Middle East and a fight between Congress and the president over primacy in foreign policy, has landed at the Supreme Court. The justices could say as early as Monday whether they will hear the case.
Another waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mike Huckabee for President 2012 What His Holocaust Gaffe Reveals - The Daily Beast
Huckabee usually gets away with this sort of thing because he is pro-Israel, if by pro-Israel one means unequivocally supporting Israeli irredentism. Unlike the majority of American Jews, he opposes a two-state solution, and in February he said Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be resettled in “a territory that [is] in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs,” which might make him the first modern American presidential aspirant to openly champion ethnic cleansing.

...Huckabee even leads group tours of evangelicals to Israel for about $4,500 a person; naturally, one of the stops is Megiddo, or, in Greek, Armageddon He sounds like a real genius...

Is Israel's Rightwing in Eric Cantor's District?
Cantor is listed on as the top recipient of campaign money from "pro-Israel" groups in the U.S. House of Representatives, having taken in over $200,000. These groups, most of them affiliated with AIPAC, dump tens of millions of dollars into U.S. elections each cycle. And they certainly appear to get what they pay for.

Surprise, Surprise! Iraq War Was About Oil by Ray McGovern
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke publicly about Israel’s input into the all-important Bush-Blair deliberations on Iraq in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. Inexplicably, Blair slipped up on his propensity for hiding important facts from the public and told some truth, though his indiscretion got little attention in America’s FCM. Blair said:

“As I recall that [April 2002] discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us [Bush and Blair], whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this.”

Panic From the Houses of Congress and Aipac?
Netanyahu, the conferees were told, wants Congress to flex its muscle with the White House and deliver a strong message to President Obama that his political future is tied to Israel’s. Hence the current “America needs Israel more than ever stupid!” campaign wafting from the Israel Lobby across the talk radio airwaves.

In N.Y. Town, Orthodox and Locals Vie for School Control
In March, the NYCLU issued a letter to the school board, raising concerns about a proposal to absorb a private religious school for Yiddish-speaking special education students into the school district. That proposal has since been dropped, but it appears that it may have been the precipitating event in the recently announced investigation into the district by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Headlines for April 21 - April 27

Apologies for the tardiness. I will try and get caught up in the days to follow.

A Stand For Justice

Israeli killed, 4 wounded in West Bank
Palestinian officials notified the Israeli military that the Israelis "were shot by a Palestinian policeman who, after identifying suspicious movements, fired in their direction," the Israeli military said.

Israeli and Palestinian security forces work closely together to prevent violence. A meeting between the sides was scheduled Sunday to discuss the shooting, the military said.

Jibril al–Bakri, the Palestinian governor of Nablus, said the Palestinian Authority was investigating. "The main problem is that they (the Israelis) entered the city without coordination," al–Bakri said.

Palestinians Prune Trees as Act of Resistance in Susiya, South Hebro
The Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli and international peace
activists, began working on their trees at approximately 10 a.m. Almost
immediately Israeli soldiers appeared and stood above the orchards. They
did not interfere with the pruning.

Rival Palestinian factions reach unity agreement
Israel swiftly rejected the prospect of a Palestinian government including Hamas, citing the militant group's stated goal of destroying the Jewish state. The U.S. expressed similar concerns.

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas's Frustration with Obama
The resolution demanded that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory," a position Obama long supported. In fact, Palestinians say they lifted the language straight from public remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But it put Obama in a bind. Members of his Democratic Party felt they'd paid a price in the midterm elections a few months earlier for Obama's tough stand with Netanyahu in the preceding year. An American veto might mitigate the damage. But it would also remind the Arab demonstrators how uncritical America's support for Israel can often be.

Israeli military invades Palestinian school
At 10.35am, when the pupils were all in their classrooms, Israeli soldiers arrived unannounced and tried each of the doors/gates to get onto the school premises. The soldiers cut through the chain holding one of the gates and got into the school playground. They were then unable to get through any of the entrances into the school building itself. The soldiers set off two percussion grenades in the school playground.

Abbas: U.S. would be illogical to block independent Palestinian state at UN
Palestinian leaders will be seeking broad endorsement of statehood at the UN General Assembly. More than 100 nations have said they recognize Palestine as a state.

Stand Firm Against Unilateral Statehood Push
Sadly, it is doubtful that reasoned arguments such as these will sway most members of the U.N., many of which have little regard for any sort of rule of law. But those countries are not the initial audience that Israel needs to convince.

Israel must first mobilize its supporters in the United States — which include the majority of both parties in Congress. The United States needs to send a clear message that any push for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. would not only poison American relations with the Palestinians but would also serve to delegitimize the U.N. itself.

The Zionistas are getting more hysterical as the drums beat louder for a Palestinian state. Notice again who rules Congress, straight from the horse's mouth.

UN Recognition of Palestinians Still Far Off
During her speech at the Security Council meeting Thursday, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., made it clear that U.S. support for Israel would remain unconditional, and implicitly suggested that there would be no support for any U.N.-based initiative to recognise a Palestinian state. We are after all Israel's bitch.

Israel 'supplied arms to Argentina during Falklands War'
Interviews conducted by the author of the book, the Argentine journalist Hernan Dobry, reveal that Begin saw the deals as a form of revenge for the hanging of a personal friend, Dov Gruner, by the British Mandatory Authorities in Palestine in 1947.

Poll: More than half of Egyptians want to cancel peace treaty with Israel

Explosion rocks Egypt gas terminal near Israel
It was the second attack in just the past month on the al–Sabil terminal near the town of El–Arish just 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Israel. On March 27 gunmen planted explosives at the terminal, which failed to detonate.

Israeli leader wants Gaza flotilla stopped
Israel's prime minister is stepping up efforts to prevent an international flotilla from reaching the blockaded Gaza Strip in the coming months.

Israel wants to prevent a repeat of last year's showdown with a Gaza–bound flotilla that tried to break through the Israeli blockade. Nine Turkish activists were killed in clashes with naval commandos.

Lobbification Part II

Tuwani: Palestinian nonviolent response to Israeli military escort

As the Palestinians Pursue Statehood, Israel Won’t Take ‘Yes’ for an Answer
So what happened? The talks were suspended when Olmert was indicted on corruption charges and Israel was forced into early elections. No, Abbas didn’t “walk away,” as myth has it. He stood back and waited until Israel elected a new leader with the legitimate authority to negotiate.

As it happened, the leader Israel elected, Benjamin Netanyahu, had different ideas.

A long walk home from school
On 20 and 21 April 2011, during the Jewish Passover holiday, the Israeli military closed all of the gates on the east side of the Old City souq in Al Khalil/Hebron. This severely restricted the movement of Palestinian residents in that area.

U.S. Needs its Own ‘Arab Spring’ to Counter Power of Pro-Israel Lobby
An interim step we can take to ease the way for congresspersons overly dependent on lobbyists and their contributions is to counter the outsized and outdated influence of AIPAC. That’s why more than 100 peace and justice groups have taken a page from the Arab playbook and launched a people-power movement of our own, called “Move Over AIPAC: Building a New Middle East Policy.” We will meet to discuss alternative views and make those views known as AIPAC convenes in Washington DC’s Convention Center.

House Newcomer Defies GOP Leaders on Israel, From the Right
For those who know him, it was no surprise when freshman Rep. Michael Grimm broke ranks with his party and became the first House Republican to call for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

The freshman member from New York has made Israel a key element of his political work. And while the Republican House leadership has thus far refrained from speaking out in favor of a commutation of Pollard’s life sentence for spying for Israel, Grimm pays small heed to political consensus.

Oh great, another traitor.

Palestinian Economy Wins Plaudits, But Statehood Still Distant Without Israel's Cooperation
According to the World Bank and the IMF, financial viability is ultimately conditioned on Israel’s good will. “Ultimately, sustainable economic growth in WB&G can only be underpinned by a vibrant private sector,” The World Bank concludes, “The latter will not rebound significantly while Israeli restrictions on access to natural resources and markets remain in place.” These restrictions include an Israeli imposed blockade of the Gaza Strip and hundreds of roadblocks limiting free travel in the West Bank. Israel also significantly restricts Palestinian export through its ports and the import of some materials and goods. Experts also warn of overestimating the importance of economic progress as paving the way to Palestinian independence.

Our Divisive Discourse
The school’s potential to help students thoughtfully engage with Israel was undercut by a divisive discourse that became fixated upon the question of who counted among the ranks of Israel’s supporters. As a result, even previously committed students — hawk and dove alike — wanted little to do with the Jewish state.

Studies have shown that today’s American Jewish youth are disengaging with Israel. It is particularly troubling that this would be true even at a Jewish day school that stresses engagement with Israel as a priority.

Pretty ridiculous given that this school is in AMERICA.

Our Skewed Priorities
they must be brainwashed into being the next generation of pro-Israel footsoldiers in America. Hogwash.

JNF Challenged on Discrimination
A challenge to the tax-exempt status of Jewish National Fund’s American arm introduces a new wrinkle into an ongoing debate over how the Internal Revenue Service should treat charities whose foreign operations run counter to public policy of the United States.

A coalition of anti-Zionist groups has claimed in its challenge that JNF ethnically discriminates by refusing to sell or lease its land in Israel to non-Jews.

US treads warily in Syria, considers sanctions
Israel and its U.S. backers do not want to be seen as opposing the forces of reform sweeping the region – which have toppled autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and weakened those in Yemen, Libya, Jordan and Bahrain – particularly if they deliver a blow to Israel's archenemy, Iran.

But although Syria is despised in Israel for its close alliance with Iran and support for the Iranian proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, the Syrian leadership has meticulously enforced quiet along the countries' shared border and has expressed willingness in the past to talk peace with Israel. There is widespread worry is Israel and Washington that if Assad does not survive, any successor could be far more extreme, Islamist and belligerent.

Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / Netanyahu agreed to join Olmert's government if Israel attacked Iran

Disincentives to Peace: US Weapons Sales to Israel
Israel may be forgiven for failing to realize the current fiscal woes of the United States. After all, U.S. military aid to Israel not only sailed unscathed through last week's passage of the 2011 budget, but reached the record level of $3 billion.

The United States additionally provided Israel $415 million for procurement, research and development of joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects, including $205 million to fund Israel's newly-deployed Iron Dome system.

...From 2000-2009, the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered to Israel more than 670 million weapons and related equipment, valued at nearly $19 billion, through three main weapons transfer programs (Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Excess Defense Articles). These weapons transfer programs accounted for nearly 80 percent of the more than $24 billion in military aid appropriated to Israel during these years. Think about that the next time you see the effects of the severe budget cuts most cities and towns of America are now facing.

Palestine: Hundreds celebrate popular struggle at the opening of the
Dozens of diplomats and senior figures from across the Palestinian
political spectrum joined hundreds of activists in the opening of the
6th International Bil’in Conference on Popular Resistance. Palestinian
PM, Salam Fayyad, called for the international community to promote
Palestinian self determination.