Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tadamun: IOF killed 1,594 Palestinians in 2009

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The international Tadamun (solidarity) institution for human rights has said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had killed 1,594 Palestinians in 2009 including 473 children and 126 women.

In a report released on Wednesday, Tadamun said that the IOF killed 1,460 citizens during the war on Gaza while 134 others were killed in IOF incursions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It noted that January was the bloodiest month in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967 since 1,076 citizens were killed with an average of 30 citizens daily.

For its part, the Palestinian center for human rights said that the IOF troops killed six Palestinians and wounded five others over the past week including a child and a woman.

In a report on Wednesday, the center noted that the IOF soldiers rounded up 26 citizens over the same period with 28 incursions in the West Bank and two raids in Gaza Strip recorded.

It underlined that the IOF was still closing all crossings of the Strip with partial opening and was chasing Palestinian fishermen at sea.


[..This does not include people deliberately killed by the bigoted zionists, from denial of medical attention and deaths in the tunnels, to malnutrition and toxic poisoning from bombs; the real death-toll is much higher.]

...and a Happy New Year!

  Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gaza, Where Time Stood Still ~ A Poem

By Samah Sabawi

Don't tell us a year has passed…

We don't measure our lives by this calendar

Time has stood still for us so long ago

Punctuated only by loss and grief

And the in between moments of quite reprieve

We don’t count on Christmas, nor Eid for cheer

We don’t fool ourselves with “happy new year”

No occasion is ever taken for granted,

When it comes to tomorrow, there are no certainties

Our yesterday is our today

Time is frozen here

And one calendar year

Will never contain our lives,

Our collective misery,

Our yearning for humanity

Don’t tell us a year has passed

Our clock stopped ticking when justice collapsed

Eclipsed by decades of repression

Hush… don’t speak of time

We have endured the absence of time

We don’t measure our lives by days like you

We measure our lives by the number of embraces

Our worth by a lover’s heartbeat

Our existence by our persistence

So, don’t tell us a year has passed….

- Samah Sabawi is a writer playwright and poet. She was born in Gaza and is currently residing in Melbourne Australia. She contributed this poem to

"I live today, but I am afraid of tomorrow"

Jody McIntyre and Sema Onbus writing from Tulkarem refugee camp, Live from Palestine, 29 December 2009

Sema Onbus in her home in the Tulkarem refugee camp. (Jody McIntyre)

The following is former Palestinian political prisoner Sema Onbus's story as told to The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre:

My name is Sema Onbus. I am 37 years old, from Tulkarem refugee camp.

My story starts when my brother was killed, on 6 September 2001, when an Apache [attack helicopter] dropped a bomb on him and his friends. It was the same day that my sister was due to get married, and he was on his way from Ramallah to visit the wedding when he was murdered. After my brother's death, my husband decided to join the resistance, and started working with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. He had soon joined Israel's wanted list.

On 28 October 2002, the Israeli army invaded the camp and started shooting at random, spraying bullets through the streets at anyone who happened to be in sight. My 15-year-old cousin was killed ... they shot him six times. My husband was shot three times, twice in his stomach and once in his leg, but he survived.

On 28 March 2003, the army invaded the camp again. My husband was fighting back, and they killed him. His body was left lying on the street, riddled with bullets.

Forty days later, the army came to invade our home. They smashed through the windows and started destroying everything in the house, ordering the whole family out onto the street. They arrested my brother Abdullah, telling my father that they just wanted to talk with him for an hour. He was later taken to a military court, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Two months later, they came back to invade our house again. This time it was 2am, and again they ordered the whole family out onto the streets, including all the kids. It was extremely cold outside and pouring with rain ... I pleaded with them to at least let the children sleep, but they didn't care.

The military commander went over to my father and told him that they wanted his son Mohammed, again saying that they just wanted to speak to him for an hour. "Like the hour for Abdullah?" my father replied, "You said you wanted to speak to Abdullah for an hour, and now we don't know where he is!" They told my father that Abdullah is a terrorist, and to go back into the house. They put a bag over Mohammed's head, tied his hands and threw him into the back of one of the jeeps.

We thought they were finished, and were preparing to go back inside when the commander stopped my father. "We're not finished," he told him, "we want your daughter Sema."

"Is it not enough that you have arrested two of my sons, and killed another?" my father asked. "Why do you want Sema?" The soldiers tied my hands behind my back, and I was taken into another jeep.

At the time I had four children -- my youngest son was still breast-feeding, and my three daughters were aged two, four and five. "Now my daughter is in jail," my father said to the soldiers, "what can I do with her children? You have killed their father, and now arrested their mother and destroyed the house they live in ... who is left to look after them?"

I was taken to a military base called Qudomeem, and Mohammed was taken somewhere else ... I don't know where. They left me locked in a room for hours, until 11am, when some female and male officers came in and started beating me together. Afterwards, a commander came in and retied my hands, and I was taken to Jalemah prison, near Haifa.

I was placed in solitary confinement -- a room measuring one meter by one meter, with black walls and no light, under the ground. I was to stay in that room for the next two months. The soldiers had a special system which they could use to change the conditions in the room, so in the middle of the winter they would pump in cold air to make it even more unbearable. I was so cold that my hands were swollen and I couldn't feel my legs ... it felt like I was sleeping in a freezer.

When they interrogated me, they told me that if I didn't speak they would arrest my father and make my children homeless. Sometimes they brought in my brother and beat him in front of me, or beat me in front of him. They tried many things to make me speak, but it didn't work. After 60 days of living like this, I was moved to a women's prison called Timon. After six days I was taken to trial at a military court, and sentenced to two and a half years.

I saw a lot of suffering in Timon. The soldiers treated the women very badly; they would beat us, spray us with gas, and throw cold water at us. Our families weren't allowed to visit, the prison was crawling with insects and mosquitoes, and solitary confinement was regularly used as a punishment. The food was terrible ... one day it was beans, the next day macaroni, today beans, and tomorrow macaroni. If you were sick there was no properly trained doctor to help you, and the only thing you would be given was an Acamol [pain killer] and a cup of water, no matter what the problem. Almost all of the women in the jail were ill -- because the prison was underground it was very damp, and this caused many health problems; some girls had their hair falling out, some had very bad teeth, and some had stomach problems. The cells had no windows, and this is where we spent all our time; we slept in the cells, ate in the cells, sat in the cells, and there was hole in the floor where we had to go to the toilet in the same room ... because of this there were many diseases.

It is everyone's dream in prison to be free, and when I heard it was time for me to be released I was so happy. When I got home, I was so excited to see my children and my brothers and sisters, but when I went to hug my son, who was now three and a half years old, he didn't want to hug me. When I left my home he was still breast-feeding, but now I was a stranger to him. I kissed him instead, but he was too scared to sleep in the same house as me that night, so he went to stay with some relatives instead. He loved them because they had looked after him while I was in prison, so they had become like his family. After two and a half years away it was difficult for me to know how to look after my children, because it was like they had forgotten me, and of course, even more difficult for them.

It's not easy to bring up four children without a father. I am responsible for them and everything they need -- to put their food on the table, a roof over their heads, to find a school for them to go to. I have to be a mother and father to them at the same time ... you really can't imagine what this life is like.

The kids ask me about their father all the time. I tell them that he is a martyr and has gone to heaven. They ask me how they can go to visit. Once, my daughter told me to get a ladder, take a knife and climb up and cut open the sky so I could bring their father back. Another time, my son said to go to the place under the ground where my father is buried and break it open with a hammer so you can bring him back. My eldest daughter once told me to speak to God on Jawwal [the Palestinian mobile phone company] and tell him to let us see our father. All the time they ask me why they killed their father and not somebody else. They have so many questions ... sometimes I don't have an answer.

One day, my son asked me for a shekel. I said, "OK, here is a shekel," but he said "I don't want a shekel from you, I want one from my father."

I live today, but I am afraid of tomorrow ... afraid that one day I will not be able to provide my children with what they need.

I wish we had peace here, so I could know that my family is safe. Unfortunately, the Israelis do not want peace.

We can speak every day and every night about how we are suffering, but it seems that there is no one listening.

Jody McIntyre is a journalist from the United Kingdom, currently living in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin. Jody has cerebral palsy, and travels in a wheelchair. He writes a blog for Ctrl.Alt.Shift, entitled "Life on Wheels," which can be found at He can be reached at jody.mcintyre AT gmail DOT com.


Photostory: Egypt further encaging Gaza

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 30 December 2009

As the one year anniversary of the 23-day Israeli massacre in Gaza passes, media attention is rightfully focused on the atrocities and war crimes committed by the Israeli military on the imprisoned population in Gaza.

With two separate delegations intending to enter the Gaza Strip via its southern, Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing, Egypt now finds itself in the spotlight for have banned entry to one convoy, Viva Palestina's humanitarian aid convoy traveling from Jordan, and having threatened to arrest and deport international activists with another delegation, the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo.

But further reasons bring Egypt to the spotlight: what many observers say is Egypt's complicity in the siege on Gaza, imposed since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006; Egypt's deafening silence as the Israeli assault on Gaza raged one year ago; and the new steel wall Egypt is having constructed along its border with Gaza.

While the cranes, drills and machinery being used range from Norwegian, Japanese and Egyptian companies, it is widely believed that the plans and financing for the wall come from the US.

Recently, the US consular in Egypt confirmed that the US is supporting the Egyptian government's building of the underground wall -- both technologically and monetarily. Egypt is second only to Israel in receiving the greatest amount of US foreign aid, not considering funds related to the US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ostensibly, Egyptian authorities say the steel wall is meant to curb all transfers via the subterranean network. Realistically, however, tunnel workers say they can dig deeper and avoid the wall. Practically, it is in Egypt's interest to allow the tunnels to work -- Egypt itself profits, taking a cut from the foods, clothes, animals, appliances and even vehicles smuggled into Gaza.

The tunnels are the only reason Gaza has not tumbled into a full-blown humanitarian disaster. That they enable foods and medicines to enter Gaza has meant the severity of Israel's continued closures of all other borders has not had reached its maximum impact.

The other crossing points into Gaza are Israeli-controlled. All but one, Erez in Gaza's north, are either closed or used for extremely limited transfers of a scarce amount of basic goods and fuel. The Erez crossing is notoriously impossible for Palestinians to use as an exit point, even for those holding doctors' referrals for medical care outside of Gaza.

With and the Egyptian government's new underground wall and the closure of the Rafah crossing -- Gaza's sole exit to the outside world -- Egypt's complicity shines more than ever.

In January 2008, Palestinians broke through the former iron fence encaging Gaza, and for five days streamed into Egypt to buy provisions and breathe freedom.

Palestinian security along the Gaza side of the border say that work near the Rafah crossing has finished and that Egypt is now working westwards on the central stretch of the wall. In total, the new wall will be up to 11 kilometers long and 18 meters deep.

The following images taken for The Electronic Intifada show Egyptian authorities building the new underground wall on the border with Gaza (the wall in the foreground is a separate wall that was built shortly after Palestinians broke the siege in January 2008).

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel's ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel's recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

In the Red, White and Blue star trunks, Hailing from Hell, the Abominator, the Man of Piece, bend way down for Baal Sootoro!!

"Israel has a historic claim on Jerusalem"..

"It is not an acceptable option for Jerusalem to be severed from Israel along the lines of the 1967 borders. That is not going to be an option."

"The Palestinians are going to have to recognize that the Right of Return as they have understood is historically would extinguish Israel as a Jewish state.. and that is not an option."

UN expert repeats call for threat of sanctions against Israel over Gaza blockade

    29 December 2009 UN News Center
DV455532        Photo: Building destroyed by Israeli military bombings in the Gaza Strip.

29 December 2009 – The United Nations independent expert on Palestinian rights has again called for a threat of economic sanctions against Israel to force it to lift its blockade of Gaza, which is preventing the return to a normal life for 1.5 million residents after the devastating Israeli offensive a year ago.

“Obviously Israel does not respond to language of diplomacy, which has encouraged the lifting of the blockade and so what I am suggesting is that it has to be reinforced by a threat of adverse economic consequences for Israel,” Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, told UN Radio.

“That probably is something that is politically unlikely to happen, but unless it happens, it really does suggest that the United States and the Quartet and the EU [European Union] don’t take these calls for lifting the blockade very seriously and are unaffected by Israel’s continuing defiance of those calls,” he said, referring to the diplomatic Quartet of the UN, EU, Russia and US, which have been calling for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the main UN body tending to the needs of some 4 million Palestinian refugees, said today Gaza had been “bombed back, not to the Stone Age, but to the mud age,” because UNRWA was reduced to building houses out of mud after the 22-day offensive Israel said it launched to end rocket attacks against it.

“The Israeli blockade has meant that almost no reconstruction materials have been allowed to move into Gaza even though 60,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed. So we in UNRWA have been saying ‘let’s lift this senseless blockage,’” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told UN Radio.

“We are the United Nations and we always hope that diplomacy will prevail, and it will prevail above the rationale of warfare. But if you look at what is going on in Gaza, and if you look at the continued blockade and the fact that that blockade is radicalizing a population there, then one has to have one’s doubts.”

In a statement last week, Mr. Falk stressed that the “unlawful blockade” was in its third year, with insufficient food and medicine reaching Gazans, producing further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population.

Building materials necessary to repair the damage could not enter Gaza, and he blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings.

Mr. Falk also deplored the wall being built on the borders between Gaza and Egypt.

“I’m very distressed by that, because it is both an expression of complicity on the part of the government of Egypt and the United States, which apparently is assisting through its corps of engineers with the construction of this underground steel impenetrable wall that’s designed to interfere with the tunnels that have been bringing some food and material relief to the Gaza population,” he told UN Radio.

“And of course, the underground tunnel complex itself is an expression of the desperation created in Gaza as a result of this blockade that’s going on now for two and a half years, something that no people since the end of World War II have experienced in such a severe and continuing form.”

As a Special Rapporteur, Mr. Falk serves in an independent and unpaid capacity and reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

In a new policy brief, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), entrusted with promoting the integration of developing countries into the world economy, reported that more than 80 per cent of Gaza’s population are now impoverished; 43 per cent unemployed; and 75 per cent lack food security. “In view of the eroded productive base, poverty is likely to widen and deepen unless reconstruction begins in earnest and without further delay,” it warned.


Talk to Al Jazeera - Richard Falk - 27 Dec 09 - Part 1
Talk to Al Jazeera - Richard Falk - 27 Dec 09 - Part 2

US, Yemen gear up for flight 253 retaliatory strike

Washington and Sana'a are reviewing targets for a possible retaliation strike on Yemeni soil in the wake of a failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, which al-Qaeda in Yemen claims to have organized.

Two senior US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN on Tuesday that the effort is aimed at devising options for the White House, in case President Barack Obama orders a retaliatory strike.

The officials added that the effort is to see whether targets can be specifically linked to the airliner incident and its planning.

US special operations forces and intelligence agencies, and their Yemeni counterparts, are working to identify potential al-Qaeda targets in Yemen, one of the officials said.

The CNN report added that "by all accounts, the agreement would allow the US to fly cruise missiles, fighter jets or unmanned armed drones against targets in Yemen with the consent of that government."

Investigators believe the Flight 253 bomber suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was radicalized before he went to Yemen, Fox News reported citing unnamed sources. According to one source, Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen sometime in late 2008 or early 2009.

He was there for several weeks or months, and investigators believe Abdulmutallab was 'vetted for the mission' while in Yemen.

Abdulmutallab, 23, told US officials after his arrest that he had received training and instructions from al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

Evidence collected shows that Abdulmutallab also was a 'big fan' of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric based in Yemen, who the US Department for Homeland Security claims had acted as a spiritual leader for three of the 9/11 hijackers.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and has been the scene of several attacks claimed by the group on foreign missions, tourist sites and oil installations.


So, the cia/sunni terrorist 'al-quaeda' commit a fake attack, to excuse the jew-usa to openly join the jew-saud and the jew-yemeni zog tentacles in their attack against the Shi3a Houthi tribes, for more or less, being themselves, servants of Allah, rather than 2 shaytanic zog.

Houthis resist Saudi incursion into northern Yemen

An International Crime Called Gaza


A fully pre-meditated international crime of genocide has been taking place during the last 62 years in the heart of the Arab World. The victims are the Palestinian people especially those in the Gaza Strip. The assassin is the worst ever terrorist group deceptively called the Israeli Defense Forces under the leadership of the theocratically most racist "god’s chosen" deceitfully self-proclaimed "democratic Jewish-only" Israel. Israel had been created, financed, armed, and politically protected by, mainly, British and American rapture-vision-obsessed Talmudist power elites consisting of profit-seeking financiers and military-industrial complex.

In December 2008 this Israeli Terrorist Forces added another war crime to its long list of war crimes against the Palestinians since 1948. One more time the international political community had become an accomplice to one more Israeli war crime either by being a passive silent witness or by becoming an active participant and protector of Israeli war criminals. One more international war crime had been perpetrated against the Palestinians. It is an international crime since multi political regimes; Israeli, American, European and even Arab governments, had joined in this crime that is STILL GOING ON up to this very minute.

For almost the last three years Israel had subjected Gaza to an illegal economic siege, which in itself constitutes a crime against humanity. Israel had, and still is, preventing the entry into Gaza of vital life sustaining products such as food stuff, fuel, medicine and needed medical equipment, water purification equipment and many building materials. This is a genocidal crime using hunger and thirst as weapons.

Starting late December of 2008 and for continuous 22 days Israeli terrorist army had perpetrated a genocidal war crime against Gaza Palestinians. The Israeli army, known to be the fourth powerful army in the world, attacked unarmed civilian Palestinians of Gaza comprising mostly of children, women, and old people. There was no regular army in Gaza to face the well equipped, well trained to murder Israeli army. Only few male civilians, who took it on themselves to carry the light arms they could obtain to resist the Israeli war criminals in order to protect their own families.

The Israeli military radio station announced that half of the Israeli air force had conducted 2500 air sorties dropping a total of 1,000,000 KG of explosives on the civilian families of Gaza. This is not counting the shells fired by the artillery and tanks. They had used high precision GPS-guided bombs to destroy vital locations such as the UN food warehouse and schools, government buildings, hospitals and medical clinics, religious buildings and civilian institutions.

From his observation of the video taped explosions in Gaza, the British weapons expert Dy Williams concluded that the Israeli army had used DIME bombs to guarantee murder of victims, Phosphorous bombs producing 900 centigrade degrees of heat, and DU bombs producing 5,000 centigrade degrees of heat, that is equal to the heat of the sun surface.

The Israeli soldiers, themselves, had admitted and boasted to "Breaking The Silence" organization of committing war crimes in Gaza. These included, among many, the deliberate murder of civilians including women and children, using civilians as human shields, shelling homes after hording groups of civilians inside, destroying and vandalizing properties and civilian homes, and writing hate and racial graffiti on walls.

Israeli criminal leaders were not satisfied with mere destruction of Gaza infrastructures, contaminating agricultural land and water, and murdering some 1500 Palestinians. They had carefully chosen the most lethal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that will cause the death of Palestinians, who survived the attack, and the death of their future born generations. Besides their devastating environmental contamination effects the Israeli bombs were found to have long lasting reproductive toxic, carcinogenic, genotoxic, fetotoxic and pathogenic effects on humans.

A study titled "Craters Gaza 2006/09 and respectively WP Bomb Gaza 2009" published on was done by Prof. Mario Barbieri CNR, Rome, Prof. Maurizio Barbieri, University of Rome, and Prof. Paola Manduca, University of Genova. They analyzed dirt samples from four bomb craters in Gaza, and residual components of spent Israeli bombs. Their analyses found unusual concentrations of Molybdenum (male sperm toxicant), copper, nickel, cadmium and Mercury (carcinogenics), Tungsten (genotoxic and fetotoxic), Zinc and Manganese (carcinogenic and fetotoxic) Aluminium (fetotoxic and pathogen affecting nervous system and kidneys), and Cobalt (DNA repair inhibitor and mutagenic).

Even now, after a year of the Israeli barbaric war crimes against Gaza, the Israeli air force bombards life vital centers, while the Israeli army use bulldozers to raze fertile farm lands, destroy crops, and shoot farmers. The Israeli attack boats have become worse than the Somali pirates. They attack and sink Palestinian fishing boats. They fire at, kidnap, and confiscate international humanitarian aid materials loaded on boats of "Free Gaza" organizations.

In a blatant violating of all international laws and a disdain to all humanitarian appeals the terrorist Israeli state had severely tightened its military siege against the Gaza Strip after the end of its last onslaught in January 2009. Palestinians in Gaza are living without clean drinking water, bare minimum food, without electricity, and without the necessary medical supplies. This is a real holocaust. A holocaust is the premeditated plan to exterminate masses of people (such as the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza), whether through gassing, incendiary phosphorous, DU and WMD bombs, hunger and thirst, or any other means leading to mass death.

Instead of coming to the aid of Palestinians the UN reverted to its old tactic of blaming the Palestinian victims and Ban KI-moon requesting a permanent cease fire. In its meeting the UN had totally ignored the Palestinian elected Hamas government; a major part of this conflict. Rather it listened to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who humiliatingly begged the UN for help, promising to do "everything" to secure peace. In an indirect way he blamed Hamas government and did not even criticize Israel’s aggression.

The UNSC issued Resolution 1860 that ignored realities of Israeli genocide of Palestinians, exonerated the Israeli terrorists, blamed the Palestinian victims (as usual) and equated them with the Israeli terrorist army. It stressed the urgency of and called for an immediate durable ceasefire leading to full withdrawal of Israeli forces. It called for efforts to prevent alleged illicit trafficking of arms into Gaza (but not the sale of arms to Israel). Thus denying the Palestinians any means of defending their lives against terrorist Israel. It misrepresented the conflict as a humanitarian crisis by calling the international community to provide humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of Gazans. This is not a humanitarian crisis; an Israeli occupation. It is a political conflict with grave humanitarian consequences. This is a genocidal holocaust of 1.5 Palestinians through thirst, starvation and use of WMD. THIS IS BLATANT NAKED WAR CRIMES.

Ban Ki-moon was sent to visit Gaza after the Israeli onslaught. He cared only to check the bombed UN warehouse and schools but not the civilian sufferings. He cared more about buildings than humans. He later expressed his "pleasure" that Israeli leaders had agreed to meet with UN representatives to discuss precautions that further "accidental bombing" of UN facilities could be avoided. Thus meeting with Israeli war criminals has become a UN pleasure. He stated, further, that he would close any investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Whatever Israel bombs and destroys Western donors volunteer to pay for. These donor countries pledged $4.5 Billion for Gaza reconstruction on the condition that such money is paid to Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and not Hamas. After a whole year of the onslaught, Gaza Palestinians had never received one cent of that money, and no reconstruction had even started. Most of the money had gone into the private pockets of Abbas’ gang and to his security forces.

After the failure of Israeli siege of Gaza and its onslaught on the Strip to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government The Western countries stepped in to produce harsher measures. In February 2009 experts from nine Western countries (US, UK, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Norway) met in Copenhagen to discuss ways of combating alleged weapons smuggling into Gaza. Their main concentration was to use Egypt as a land front to further tighten the siege against Gaza, specifically to target the underground tunnels Gazans use to smuggle in food stuff, goods, and fuel. They also decided to send NATO warships into the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf to intercept alleged weapon smuggling from Iran to Gaza.

At the end of January 2009 French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a frigate with helicopters to the waters off Gaza to combat arms smuggling into Palestinian territories. He ordered his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to coordinate closely with the US and EU to come up with more effective ways to fight arms smuggling on land and sea. Sarkozy said: "We have pledged to help Israel and Egypt with all the technical, military, naval and diplomatic ways to help end the smuggling of weapons into Gaza."

British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, issued an order to deploy the British Navy to the region to help fight weapons smuggling. "We’ll send Royal Navy to help fight weapon smuggling" He stated courageously. Latest British scandal came this month when its Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said that UK is urgently looking into reforming its laws to protect Israeli war criminals, such as Tzibi Levni, from being arrested.

Germany sent end of January border police exports and equipment to detect and destroy tunnels in Gaza Strip. German Deputy Interior Minister, August Hanning, claimed that Egypt had requested the detection equipment and the technical skills.

The newly elected American President at the time Barak Obama had also sent American vessels into the region to board all suspected vessels of smuggling weapons. He also had asked the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, to help combat arms smuggling. The US had sent surveillance cameras and underground sound sensors to Egypt to be installed on the border with Gaza. Recently the US Army Corps of Engineers had constructed treated steel plates and is helping Egypt install them as an underground wall on the Gaza border to prevent tunnel digging.

While denying Palestinians acquire any arms for self defense the US and EU member states are major arms exporters to Israel. According to figures from Brussels the European Union member states authorized the export of €200 million in arms exports to Israel in 2007, with France far and away the Israel's biggest European weapons supplier. According to the EU's 2008 report on arms export licenses, published in December for the 2007 calendar year and consolidating the accounts that member states must annually submit, 18 member states authorized a total of 1,018 such licenses to Israel worth €199,409,348.

The US is the largest arms exporter to Israel. Successive American Administration had sold Israel the latest and most technologically and most devastating weapons. According to Amnesty International the US had provided Israel with $8.3 Billion worth or weapons between 2004 and 2007. In 2002 the US granted Israel $21 Billion worth in military aid. Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon and its 2008/09 war against Gaza were carried using American weapons. Still Obama’s administration had delivered late last January 14,000 tons of weapons to Israel delivered by the German cargo ship, Wehr Elbe, to Israeli port of Ashdod. Recently, peace prize winner, President Obama has signed off $2.775 Billion in further defense aid for Israel, a part of the $30 Billion over 10 years. Last Monday 12/21 Obama has approved a defense spending bill that includes $2.2 Million in funds for Israel’s missile defense program, more than double what was approved last year. All this while American economy is collapsing, housing crisis is exacerbating, and unemployment rate is rising. It seems for Obama administration the Israeli citizen is more important than the American tax payer. Also refer to my article "Arming Terrorist Israel".

EU and US don’t mind breaking their own laws for the sake of arming terrorist Israel. Under Criterion 2 of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, Member States are supposed to "deny an export license if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression, or be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian laws". Israel is proved to commit both offenses.

The US breaks three of its own arms export laws; US Arms Export Control Act (P.L. 80-829), Foreign Assistance Act (P.L. 97-195), and the Leahy Law (Foreign Ops Appropriation Act).

With such extraordinary consorted international efforts and the use of such amassed technical and military powers one would imagine that Israel, EU and US are fighting a war against a great global enemy not impoverished and starved civilians trying to survive on a small and narrow war-scorched strip of land. The reality is that this international power is fighting the resisting spirit of these people against colonial occupation. They are afraid that such spirit may spread over and impede their own occupation in the region. To destroy this spirit these Western governments are willing to unconditionally support terrorist Israel financially, militarily and politically, on the expense of their citizens tax payers despite their own economic crises and joblessness.

The worst accomplices in this international crime are the Arab governmental regimes, who are supposed to protect their Palestinian brothers from such a holocaust. Rather than united in one nation, one government, one military, and one economy Arab leaders had, instead, asserted the division of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Thus they keep themselves weak and vulnerable to foreign occupation, interference and control that can be overtly and covertly seen in almost every Arab state. The Arab League is just a tool to keep the leaders in a chaotic disagreement unable to make any national decision. For the last 61 years they have watched Palestinian land gradually gobbled by the Zionist occupation and had not taken any significant action to free Palestine. Rather they spend their Billion oil money in buying obsolete weapons to rust in the desert. Finally they stopped financing Palestine freedom fighters and surrendered the penniless Palestinian Authority to the merciless manipulation of the pro-Israeli Western donor countries. While some had completely withdrawn from the Arab/Israeli conflict, others like Jordanian and Egyptian regimes had actively contributed to the suppression of all forms of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation.

During the Israeli 22 days onslaught on Gaza Arab leaders kept coming up with unreasonable excuses for not convening an urgent summit meeting. When they finally did meet, they, as usual, agreed to disagree on how to deal with the Israeli aggression. They finally begged the UN to interfere. Such delay gave Israelis longer time to murder more Palestinians and destroy more homes.

The Arab League, later on, issued a resolution calling for breaking Israel’s siege of Gaza, yet they donated money to Abbas’ security forces, controlled by American general Dayton, to oppose the democratically elected Hamas government. Instead of feeding the starving Palestinians in Gaza the League is spending $50 Million to protect the lives of endangered marine turtles on 8000 square meters coast land off Al-Arish in Egypt. What a humanitarian gesture!

Like all colonial puppet local regimes, the present Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and his thugs, had hijacked the Palestinian leadership and offered Palestine and its people on the Israeli alter to glorify a genocidal god and his chosen people. My previous articles ( here and here) discuss the betrayal of the present Palestinian Authority. This betrayal was recently exposed by Israeli audio and video recording of these so-called Palestinian leaders urging the Israelis to attack Gaza to finish off the elected Hamas government regardless of any Palestinian casualties. Abbas and his PA had also tried to muffle Goldstone’s Report about Israel’s crime.

Besides crushing dissidents and any form of pro-Palestinian solidarity, Jordan has become a training campground for Abbas’ security forces under the supervision of the American General Keith Dayton. Dayton had established a twin sister of the American School of Assassins to suppress Palestinian resistance. It was reported that about four thousands trainees of this School were ready to enter and control Gaza after the anticipated destruction of Hamas government.

Besides suppressing and robbing its own citizens for the last 28 years, Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian regime has played the most active role, second to Israel, in opposing elected Palestinian government and in the destruction of Gaza and starving its people. To ease Mubarak’s conscious for participating in such genocide of his Arab brothers his regime is paid a handsome $2 Billion in the form of American Aid.

Mubarak’s regime has committed crimes against humanity by fully participating in the Israeli siege against Gaza. Rather than helping the next door homeless and hungry Arab brothers of Gaza Strip the Mubarak’s regime preferred to send, last May, an airplane full with humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka on the opposite side of the globe. This regime was a stubborn obstacle in the face of every international solidarity movement and organizations, who tried to break the siege against Gaza. The regime blocked the entry of thousands of tons of badly needed food aid to Gaza; letting them rot in the desert heat, and finally burn them as spoiled food. Under the deceptive banner of "fighting arms smuggling into Gaza" it erected the most sophisticated surveillance equipment to detect and prevent life-sustaining materials delivered to Gaza through tunnels.

This month, December 2009, Egyptian Mubarak’s regime, with the help of American Army Corps Engineers, is building an underground steel wall to block tunnel digging, and is running underground pipes to flood the existing tunnels with sea waters.

Egyptian regime has opposed the elected Hamas Palestinian leadership and sided with the Western puppet Abbas, whose presidency has expired. It has sabotaged all reconciliation attempts between the two Palestinian factions by imposing harsh conditions against Hamas government and altering the text of agreements before signature.

The Egyptian policy towards their Palestinian brothers in Gaza, many of whom carry Egyptian citizenship, was reflected in the confession of its Foreign Minister, Ahmad Aboul-Gheti, in 11th of November 2008 when he stated that Egypt was closing Rafah Crossing with Gaza to punish a Palestinian faction (Hamas). Opening the Crossing, in his opinion, constitutes recognition of Hamas’ legitimacy.

Unlike the silence over the Holocaust during WWII conscientious citizens of these same international criminal governments are actively mobilized to act against terrorist Israel and the genocidal policies of their governments. Through Breaking Gaza Siege Campaigns many of them, such as Viva Palestina and The Hope convoys, are delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. They have also organized boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to boycott companies that sustain Israeli occupation on Palestine such as Motorola and Caterpillar, as well as academic and cultural boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions, all of them are supported by the Israeli government. The effects of these campaigns had penetrated the blindly pro-Zionist American congress, where on December 18th Representatives Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison are seeking signature on a "Dear Colleague" letter to President Obama criticizing Israel’s siege of Gaza. Representatives Jim Moran and Bob Inglis are also seeking signatures on another "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to pressure Israeli government to end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank.

This week protests are organized in major countries around the world in US, UK, France, Turkey, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Poland, Denmark, Greece, Jordan, and occupied Palestine (Israel), commemorating the first anniversary of the Israeli onslaught against Gaza.

Under the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction we are witnessing Western courts issuing arrest warrants against Israeli leaders (Tzibi Livni) and army generals (former military chief Moshe Yaalon and General Doron Almog) for committing war crimes. International lawyers are filing for more arrest warrants against more Israeli war criminals. Soon Israeli leaders will be chased across the globe as war criminals the same way Israel had chased German Nazis as war criminals.


  Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Al Jazeera Witness - Gaza Fixer

Raed Atharmneh has been the right-hand man for journalists covering Gaza for many years, providing essential knowledge, contacts and logistical backup for a number of reporters. In 2006 he became part of the news story himself, when 18 members of his family were killed by an Israeli bomb. In Gaza Fixer 2, filmmakers George Azar and Mariam Shahin return to see how Raed and his family are surviving in the aftermath of the 2008/9 Gaza war.

Locked in: Life in Gaza - 25 Dec 09 - Part 1
Locked in: Life in Gaza - 25 Dec 09 - Part 2

Talk to Al Jazeera - Richard Falk - 27 Dec 09 - Part 1
Talk to Al Jazeera - Richard Falk - 27 Dec 09 - Part 2

Riz Khan - Gaza's Open Wounds

A year after Israel's crushing offensive on Gaza,
Riz Khan looks at the human cost of the war.

[Hamas was accused of using civilians as 'human shields,' yet the opposite is true, and it was the Israelis who used Palestinians as human shields during their offensive, as usual, and who also made the hypocritical ***e classic accusations against Hamas.]

"Israel needs to be punished. Israel has managed, all of these years to get away with impunity. It is time now, to take account, and to take responsibility, and to be punished for it's crimes in Gaza, and Palestine generally." ~ Dr. Iyad Saraj

"I fully believe that words are stronger than bullets, we must change our course, because our case is a just case, and we must use the right weapon to get our rights." ~ Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Inside Story - Gaza Under Siege - 28 Dec 2009

For over two years Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants. The blockade includes bans on materials needed to reconstruct the region after the israeli bombing of 2008-9. 80% of the population of Gaza survives on food aid. Inside story asks what motives are behind the restrictions? And what is the human cost?

EU calls settlements in Jerusalem Al-Quds illegal

The European Union has said new settlements in East Jerusalem Al-Quds are illegal under international law and urged Israel to reconsider its plans.

“The presidency of the European Union is dismayed at the announcement of the Israeli government to build nearly 700 apartments in the occupied East Jerusalem Al-Quds,” said a statement issued on Monday from Sweden, which holds the EU presidency.

The Israeli Housing Ministry has sought bids for the construction of 692 new homes within Jewish settlements in annexed Arab East Jerusalem Al-Quds. Israel's continued expansion of the settlements is one of the biggest obstacles to the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

The plans to build about 700 new Jewish homes in areas of the occupied West Bank has even prompted strong US criticism.

The United States has said it opposes Jewish settlement construction on occupied land and has urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume the negotiations, which have been stalled for a year.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority acting chief Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli plan, saying new construction on territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war is illegal.

The Israeli Housing Ministry has invited contractors to bid for the construction of 198 housing units in Pisgat Zeev, 377 homes in Neve Yaakov, and 117 dwellings in Har Homa, settlements near Jerusalem Al-Quds.


Turkey renews call for ending Gaza blockade

The Children of Gaza share their experiences of "Cast Lead"

The first Israeli airstrikes of "Operation Cast Lead" took the people of Gaza by surprise.

School children were among those going about their ordinary lives on the day of the attack. Their world was flung quickly into chaos.

Some of them told Al Jazeera their recollections of the horror.

  Monday, December 28, 2009

Exclusive: One On One with the Leader of the Electronic Intifada

The Interview Ha’aretz Doesn’t Want You To See

Rehaviya Berman

Meet Ali Abunimah, the son of a Jordanian diplomat, a Palestinian activist, and the man who brings the hottest news of the struggle to thousands of people. His message: Forget two states, one will be tough enough to get it right.

The Interview before you was commissioned by one of the the big newspapers. For a reason that has yet to be clarified, this paper decided not to publish the interview. It’s published here, because it’s the opinion of the editor that it’s important that this be read by the Israeli public.

“First of all, it’s important for me to clarify that I’m not a leader, and I’m not interested in being a leader.” That’s how Ali Abunimah, 38, opens our two and a half hour interview. A Washington D.C. Born Palestinian, son of Palestinian parents of different villages in the Jeruusalem area, his mother a native of Lifta, a 1948 refugee, and his father, a native of of Battir, a 1967 refugee. Abunimah (@avinunu on Twitter) may renounce the label of a leader, but in the history that will one day be written, it’s probable that he’ll be described as the “harbinger of electronic revolution”, as the Electronic Intifada- the name of the website that Abunimah is of his founders and active members. There are Twitter users with many more “followers”, but there are very few who seriously deal with the Isreli-Palestinian issue, feeds voraciously on the web and doesn’t follow “@avinunu” and “E-Intifada”. He’s also a sought after and articulate interviewee on news networks such as CNN and MSNBC, for his consistent representation of the Palestinian position.

Abunimah is one of the most active people on the web in Palestinian Hasbara, and this without being identified with any of the political factions. His father, Hasan, served as a senior diplomat of Jordan, among other things its ambassador to the United Nations. But Ali doesn’t hesitate to criticize the kingdom where most his relatives live today, when he finds it’s time to do so. A portrait of a leader in the internet age- Unidentified, not representative, and doesn’t owe any one.

Recently, Abunimah surfaced into consciousness, after ruining [Ehud] Olmert’s little apearance-for-profit at Chicago University, when he abruptly cut his speech with the piercing question about the dissatisfyingly discriminatory killing that the IDF executed in Gaza, a year ago. Abunimah was joined by more protestors and Olmert couldn’t go through his speech as planned.

A few days later, Olmert tried to give a speech in San Francisco, and as in Chicago pro-Palestinian students got up and drowned his voice in shouts and protest. Ali Abunimah, in Chicago, wasn’t there for the second silencing of Olmert, that included an attempt of a “citizen’s arrest”, but he was there with immediate reports, updates and links to videos and Twitter, before anyone else, at the front lines of the unfolding events, as is the case, in the past few years. Nothing of importance happens in the field or in the virtual space that has to do with Palestine (but not only) without Abunimah’s keyboard being there to distribute, sharply comment, connect the incriminating dots, point fingers and supply background and context to each event.

Inviting Olmert? A “Miserable Decision”

The man himself, as I mentioned, is humble, on the conversation I had with him on the computer program, Skype. “I organized nothing that had to do with San Francisco, and I don’t want to talk second hand about how and what other people are planning.” He also doesn’t want to talk about other internet activists such as himself, for the possibility that he may forget to mention someone and that’ll open a possibility for offense. When I persist, he obliges in mentioning the International BDS committee, the Palestinian action organization for boycotting Israel, students and many activists across the USA and the BDS movement- acronym for Boycott, Divestment, Sanction.

In addition to the clear protest against Olmert’s actions and against Israel, Abunimah and others wanted to protest the actual decision to invite Olmert to speak.

“I think it was a miserable decision by The Harris School of Public Policy Studies, in my university, the University of Chicago, to invite a man who is- forget the war crimes- suspect of serious corruption offenses, by his own state, and to pay him tens of thousands of dollars for a speech. It just inappropriate.”

Be honest, it may have been inappropriate, but it created a great oppertunity to get your struggle some headlines.

“It helped, but at the same time, the school could have invited judge Richard Goldstone to speak about the findings of his report, that way we would have gotten a debate about the subject and the school wouldn’t have put itself in a the compromising position of paying an enormous sum to a corrupt person”.

Similar to the Struggle Against South Africa

I try to stir the conversation to the methods of organization that have been bringing Abunimah and his colleagues success, lately. But it seems he’s pleased- in an impeccably polite manner- to disappoint me.

“Not only did I not organize anything, I don’t think there’s such a quick organizers the likes of which you’re describing,” He says. “These are very spontaneous actions. Information is very decentralized today on the web. It reaches many people simultaneously. I feed on the flow of information more than I contribute to it. I almost want to say that I’m sorry we’re not more organized, but this is the reality and I think that in the grander scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.”

It’s a bit strange to hear from a man that grew up in the house of a professional diplomat that organizing doesn’t matter for the public struggle, but Abunimah persists: “It’s a fact that the Zionists are much more organized than we are, in the campuses and an the US in general, and they have a huge budget, nevertheless, they haven’t achieved similar success in spreading their message. It’s not that I’m more skilled at using Twitter than anyone else. It’s because they’re trying to sell a 19th century message in the 21st century, and apparently even with 21st century technology, you can’t sell that merchandise.”

“It’s very similar to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, on campuses,” he continues. “The struggle was very decentralized there, too, and succeeded because of the undeniable justness of the cause.” This is where Abunimah doesn’t forget to mention that one of the lone states to keep tight relations with the apartheid regime in South Africa was Israel.

Beyond the massive volume of his online dealings with the issue, his education and what he had absorbed in his father’s home, one of the reasons that people turn to him in order to understand the Middle East conflict is his considerably rational stance that he vigilantly keeps: “We don’t boycott Israelis just because they are Israelis or work for an Israeli institution. If Chicago University would have invited some Israeli professor, then cutting him off in protest would have been silencing of freedom of speech. But Ehud Olmert isn’t a private citizen and it’s obvious he’s a legitimate target for this purpose.”

If You Give Up Territory, You’ll Take it Out on Your Arab Citizens

That said, those of you hoping to find a partner for a rational debate about coexistence within the two-state framework will be highly disappointed. Abunimah believes in a single-state solution, bi-national, completely democratic, in which there’s no state expression of Jewish/Israeli nationality. He also wrote a book about it: One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

”It’s not that I oppose the two-state solution. I don’t think this solution exists. Those who try to repeat the mistakes of 1948 will find out that it won’t end less tragically, this time around,” he claims.

And still, let’s say that tomorrow we’re informed that Netanyahu and Abu-Mazen have signed an agreement that includes the pulling out of all that’s east of the separation fence and the founding of some sort of Palestinian state within the confines of what exists?

Before he answers this question, Abunimah specifies the way he sees the roots of the conflict: “First of all, expulsion of refugees from their land on a racial basis.”

Are you sure it’s correct to insist on the term “racism” in this context? It’s tribalism, our side and your side.

“Religious-ethnical basis, if you wish. It’s obvious that if they would have converted, they would have been allowed to stay. The second point is the racist treatment discriminating Palestinians citizens of Israel, and the third point is occupation and colonization. Something resembling a state, headed by Abu-Mazen, or anyone else, only solves the third point, because you can’t forfeit the right of return in the name of others.”

There’s a contradiction, or maybe discrimination, because you expect Israel’s government to give up holy places and historic regions in the name of the whole of the Jewish people, but reject the right of the Palestinian government to do so.

“We must discern “rights” that are based on a historical, half-mythological narrative that refers to events of over 2000 years ago, from the rights of people that some of which are still alive and were physically expelled, themselves, from their homes and lands. It’s obvious that the latter is more pressing than the former,” he argues.

“Referring to your question,” he continues, “do you really believe you can evacuate half a million settlers from their homes?”

I personally believe so, if there’s a will. It was also thought that it would be impossible to evacuate the Gaza Strip. Most of the people that need to be evacuated aren’t ideological settlers. They’ll give him money and he’ll leave, and with the ones that persist all the way, the security forces will deal with them.

“I don’t believe it’s possible, but even if it is, do you know what will happen? There won’t be two states that live side by side in peace. I’ll tell you why: The Israelis will be so full of a feeling that “we gave up so much, we gave so much. And we’re still stuck with a million and a half Arabs that only want more and more”, until the nationalism, aggression and will, that’s hidden within most, to ethnically cleanse, will surface, so the evacuation of the West Bank won’t solve anything, and will only change the identity of the Palestinians that are Israel’s victims. I think Meron Benvenisti sees the situation clearer than most Israeli analysts. I often disagree with him about the conclusions, but hi- analysis of the situation is very correct, in my opinion. He calls this land, Palestine, the state of Israel, whatever you call it, “a de-facto bi-national state”, and I agree with this turn of phrase”.

Using the Neighbor’s House as Collateral

Look, the essence of Zionism was to build a shelter where all Jews could flee in case of pogroms. Will this bi-national state that you envision insure this right?

This is where Abunimah’s answer splits in two: “Personally, I wouldn’t object that a bi-national, democratic, equal, state, after all the wrongs that were done to the Palestinian people are emended, would make a commitment to receive every persecuted Jew at a time of need. Palestine has a rich and ancient tradition of as a place of refuge to the persecuted, near and far, including Armenians, Caucasian tribes, Africans and also Jews, single people, families and sometimes whole communities, for generations, have used Palestine as a place of refuge.”

“But principally speaking,” Abunimah retracts, “It’ important to understand the the Jews of the world aren’t allowed to hold someone’s house as collateral in case the house they live in now burns. This idea that it’s the right of a limited number of Jews to hold on to this land, while oppressing the indigenous population as an insurance policy for people who don’t live here is absurd. Zionism presumed to create a safe haven for Jews. In effect, the majority of world Jews choose not to live in it, it’s a safe haven for no one, and to the people who live in it, an insurance policy is citizenship in another country, preferably one in the European Union.”

You ask me if I believe it’s possible to uproot half a million settlers. Do you really believe that Israelis and Palestinians can merge into one state?

“I understand your question. Hate exists within both sides and in order to examine it, we must examine the root of the conflict. But the major mistake of those dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the thought that it’s so unique. It’s not. In northern Ireland there are two communities, with a longer lasting conflict, and each one with its own contradicting narrative, just like us. The colonial dynamics are also similar. In order to solve the conflict, first there’s need of recognition of its root causes, recognition of the wrongs, and recognition of the rights of the victims. Yes, each Palestinian and his family that has been uprooted from his land has a right to return to their homes. It’s also not as impossible as it sounds. The state of Israel has backup plans to receive a million immigrants, if the need be. So the possibility is there.

But first of all there must be recognition of the right. Then there can be talk of application. No one promises that thousands of Palestinians living well in the Middle East and the rest of the world will run to live in the homeland, and of course there’s the ability of the existing population to receive immigration, to consider. But the right has to be acknowledged. First of all there’s a need to erect institutions and policies and mechanisms that will foster true equality. Quality accommodations, police that is perceived as an honest broker and not as a one sided militia. Like Northern Ireland, like other places, human beings find a way to reconcile and shatter imposed structures of hate”.

Northern Ireland as an Intermediate Stage

So you do support a solution like in Northern Ireland? Because there the land was distributed.

“It’s true that the island has yet to be united there, and I believe that in the end it will happen. If there will be an intermediate stage in which there’s one state for the local indigenous population, like the Republic of Ireland, and also a completely bi-national state, with complete equal rights and specific immigration arrangements for each population (the Northern Ireland Protestants, for example, have a right to freely immigrate to Britain), then maybe it could work. But who wants that? There’s this kind of religion of two-states, and I call it a religion because it doesn’t base itself on evidence. They say that Israelis really want that, and that Fatah really wants it, and almost 20 years they’re working on it, so how is it that it isn’t happening? It isn’t happening because no one wants it to happen, because both sides understand that it’s impossible. It’s only Israel deluding itself that it can continue sustaining occupation forever, when occupation itself is an anachronistic term. There can be occupation for a few months, maybe even a few years, but 40 years of occupation and settlements and assimilation? The world is beginning to understand what’s going on and it won’t have it.”

And this is the point where we return to the aims of sites such as the information site Electronic Intifada and of the BDS movement.

“That’s right. We believe that in spite of the existence of a very small Israeli left, the majority of Israelis will be delighted to continue going to the beach, watch movies and shows and it in good restaurants, while at a distance of less than a hundred Kilometers from there children are starving. As long as they don’t understand that the current policies only bring them suffering, that it constricts their stride and detaches them from all they want, they won’t want to listen. We’re waiting for them to be ready.”

Do you know the terms “switch a disc” and ”burn in the consciousness”?

Abunimah elegantly ignores the opportunity to savor the irony and answers seriously: “There must be a struggle of ideas to change all our current ideas about our possible future. These are the struggles I believe in. There’s nothing that binds these struggles to the spilling of blood.”

A Culture Lesson and Optimism (depends for whom)

You read Hebrew, follow the media here and you also chose to take a course in Hebrew poetry in the university. Among your writings we can also find a small effort to promote the works of Jewish artists of an Arab ethnicity, especially those who created in Arabic.

“Yes, I think that one of the biggest crimes of Zionism was actually perpetrated against the Jews and their spiritual world. In that it debased all that was “exile-esque” [גלותי], it detached itself and the people under its authority from their roots. There was harsh oppression of both the Yiddish culture and the Jewish-Arabic culture.”

This is correct, and in the past generation there’s a growing awareness of this, and already a whole generation’s-time it isn’t shameful to become interested in where the grandparents came from and to revive their culture. On the contrary.

“That’s right, and it’s wonderful.”

And what about the new Hebrew culture? Is there something, out of the huge variety that has been created here, that you can relate to?

“Without a doubt there’s an existing Israeli-Jewish culture, but it’s very tough for Palestinians to view it out of the prism of the conflict, not to mention that Israel uses culture explicitly for Hasbara purposes. The solutions I suggest may free the Israeli-Jewish culture from these confines and find recognition and respect within broader circles.”

To conclude, you’re one of the biggest promoters of a bi-national state in what is today referred to as Israel and the Palestinian territories. Are you optimistic?

“I’m very optimistic. I think it will happen in the lifetimes of the 1948 refugees. There’s not much time and they should be able to see justice before they pass on.”

And then you’ll come to live here?

“I can’t say for sure that I will. I don’t know. But I won’t give up my right to do so.”

Israel deliberately bombs and poisons babies

Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip in 2006 and in the war this year have left a high concentration of toxic metals in its soil, according to the findings of a study by a weapons research group made up of independent doctors and scientists based in Italy.

Doctors in Gaza believe the toxic waste, along with the trauma of war, is the reason they're seeing a high number of babies with birth defects.

Sherine Tadros reports from Gaza.
The rising numbers of deformed babies caused by the War on Gaza

The Devil Sign - Not Just for Curses Anymore

How did this hand signal, which is historically a vulgar sign in Italy, get to be so mainstream that even the Pope uses it?  More at this link

Viva Palestina Convoy changes route

Organisers of Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is trying to reach the Gaza Strip, have now agreed to go via Syria en route for Egypt.

The agreement came after a Turkish mediator reached a deal with the Egyptian consul in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba.

The convoy will now head to the Syrian port of Latakia to sail from there to the Egyptian port of El Arish, and then to Gaza.

Viva-Palestina which have been stranded in Aqaba for five days is led by George Galloway, a British MP.

Turkey dispatched an official on Saturday to try convince the Egyptians to allow the convoy to go through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba, the most direct route to Gaza after Egypt insisted that the convoy can only enter through El-Arish, on its Mediterranean coast.

Viva Palestina and another convoy, The Gaza Freedom March, were planning to arrive on Sunday to commemorate the first anniversary of Israel's war on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Meanwhile, at least 300 French participants of the Gaza Freedom March spent the night camped out in front of their embassy in Cairo, bringing a major road in the Egyptian capital to a halt as riot police wielding plexiglass shields surrounded them.

Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, accused the French protesters of lying and trying to embarrass Egypt.

"They claimed they had aid to carry to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is a lie," the MENA news agency quoted Zaki as saying.

"They want media exposure and to pressure and embarrass Egypt," he said.

On Sunday, police briefly detained 38 international participants in the Sinai town of El-Arish, organisers said.

"At noon (1000 GMT) on December 27, Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30 activists in their hotel in El-Arish as they prepared to leave for Gaza, placing them under house arrest.

"Another group of eight people, including American, British, Spanish, Japanese and Greek citizens, were detained at the bus station of El-Arish in the afternoon of December 27," they said.

On Sunday, Egyptian police also stopped some 200 protesters from renting boats on the Nile to hold a procession to commemorate those who died in the Gaza war.

On December 31, participants are hoping to join Palestinians "in a non-violent march from northern Gaza to the Erez-Israeli border," the organisers said.

Israeli forces kill six Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza

Press release, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

On Saturday morning, 26 December 2009, Israeli occupation forces killed six Palestinians in two separate attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces employed excessive lethal force and killed three Palestinians, and Israeli undercover units extrajudicially executed three members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the armed wing of Fatah movement) in Nablus. The three victims in Nablus had been granted amnesty, in coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, and had been allowed to freely move and live normally. Israeli occupation forces claimed that undercover unit fired at the three victims "as they refused to surrender." However, investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) conclude that the three victims were executed in cold blood.

PCHR strongly condemns these latest crimes, and reiterates the call for the international community to prosecute Israeli political and military officials suspected of committing such crimes. PCHR notes that these latest crimes occurred on the eve of the first anniversary of Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip. To date, none of those suspected of committing war crimes during the offensive have been prosecuted; this impunity serves to encourage further violations of international law. It is Palestinian civilians who suffer the consequences.

In the Gaza Strip, at approximately 00:30 on Saturday, 26 December 2009, Israeli troops stationed on observation towards along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the north of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinians who got close to the border. The Israeli gunfire lasted for approximately 20 minutes, after which an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the Palestinians. As a result, three Palestinians were killed:

1. Basheer Suleiman Mousa Abu Duhail, 20;
2. Mahmoud Jom'a Ibrahim al-Sharat'ha, 19; and
3. Hani Salem Ibrahim Abu Ghazal, 20.

The victims are all from al-Nasser village (the Bedouin village) to the north of Beit Lahia. They were unarmed and were apparently attempting to infiltrate into Israel to search for jobs. A fourth Palestinian survived the attack.

In the West Bank, at approximately 02:00 on Saturday, 26 December 2009, Israeli occupation forces, including undercover units, moved into Nablus. They positioned themselves near al-Nasser Mosque in the old town, where they surrounded and opened fire at a house belonging to the family of Ra'ed 'Abdul Jabbar Mohammed al-Sarkaji, 40. Using megaphones, they ordered al-Sarkaji out of the house. As soon as he opened the door, Israeli troops opened fired at him. He was hit by a gunshot to the forehead and fell down. Soon after, Israeli occupation forces fired at him from a very close range. He was killed by six gunshots to the head, the chest, the left forearm, the pelvis and the left leg. His wife, 32-year-old Tahani Farouq Ja'ara, was wounded by shrapnel to the leg.

At the same time, other Israeli units besieged a house belonging to the family of Ghassan Fat'hi Abu Sharekh, 38, near Qaderi fish market in the old town. Through megaphones they ordered residents of the house to get out. All the inhabitants left the building, Ghassan was the last to leave. Once he appeared, Israeli occupation forces opened fire at him. He was killed by sevem gunshots to the neck, the chest, the abdomen, the back and the left leg.

At approximately 02:30, Israeli occupation forces besieged the Sobeh five-story apartment building in Kshaika Street in Ras al-'Ein neighborhood in the southeast of Nablus. They called through megaphones on 'Anan Suleiman Mustafa Sobeh, 36, who lives on the second floor, to get out and surrender to them. They opened fire at the building. At approximately 08:00, Israeli occupation forces withdrew from the area, and residents of the area found 'Anan's body on the roof of a car washing yard near the building. He was hit by several gunshots to the chest, the right shoulder, the neck and the lower jaw.

PCHR strongly condemns crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and:

1) Asserts that these latest crimes are ones in a series of continuous crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces in the OPT in disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.

2) Reiterates condemnation for the policy of extra-judicial executions adopted by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian activists, and asserts that this policy serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.

3) Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).


War on Gaza: Operation Cast Lead One Year Later

By Jeremy R. Hammond

One year ago today, Israel launched 'Operation Cast Lead', a murderous full-scale military assault on the small, densely populated, and defenseless Gaza Strip. The operation resulted in the massacre of over 1,300 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, including hundreds of children.

This includes only those killed directly by military attacks. The actual casualty figure from Israel’s policies towards Gaza, including the number of deaths attributable to its ongoing siege of the territory, is unknown.

The official pretext for the operation given by Israel and parroted unquestioningly in the Western media is that Israel had to respond with force as an act of self-defense against to an onslaught of rocket attacks against southern Israel from Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.

Even if this were true, nations acting in self-defense against armed attacks must respect international law designed to protect civilians in time of war. Israel flagrantly violated the Geneva Conventions and other relevant treaties governing the use of force during the course of its operation, committing numerous war crimes.

But the stated pretext itself does not stand up to scrutiny. Six months prior to the assault on Gaza, Israel and Hamas had agreed to a cease-fire. Under the terms of the truce agreement, Hamas would end its rocket attacks against Israel and Israel would similarly cease attacks against Palestinians in Gaza and lift its siege on the territory.

Hamas, for its part, lived up to its obligations under the truce. It fired no rockets into Israel and actively pressured other groups to similarly refrain from launching attacks.

Israel, on the other hand, never lived up to its obligations under the truce. From the beginning, Israel declared a “security zone” on Gaza’s side of the border and Israeli soldiers repeatedly violated the truce by firing at Palestinians, guilty of merely trying to access their own land.

Israel also never eased its siege of Gaza. Israel controlled (and continues to control) the borders of Gaza, its airspace, and its coast, and implementing a near total blockade, including preventing by force the delivery of humanitarian goods into the territory.

Rather than easing the siege, Israel continued to let in only minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies (a practice that also continues today), just enough to prevent a total humanitarian catastrophe, thus keeping the population of Gaza in a state of despair and on the verge of human limits, with untold consequences on the health and mental well-being of the Palestinians.

The complete breakdown of the truce agreement came on November 4, when Israel launched airstrikes and a ground incursion into Gaza, killing four Palestinians. This violation of the cease-fire resulted in its effective undoing.

Israel’s official reason for the attack was its claim that militants were digging a tunnel under the border. The more credible explanation, however, was that Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into launching rockets and thus to claim a pretext for the full-scale military assault that Israel had, at that time, by its own account, already been planning.

Indeed, from the beginning of the truce, it appeared Israel’s intent was to provoke a violent response in order claim a pretext for its military assault. While Hamas scrupulously observed the cease-fire, Israel took deliberate actions to undermine it. Besides those already noted, Israel also stepped up operations against Palestinians in the West Bank, such as the assassination of members of Islamic Jihad shortly after the announcement of the truce.

Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza responded to that incident by firing rockets into Israel, but Hamas criticized the attacks and pressured Islamic Jihad to cease, including with the threat of arrests, and the tenuous truce continued to hold, for a time.

A greater and more provocative action was necessary in order to completely undermine the truce, and Israel’s November 4 attack proved to be that action. From that day forward, the so-called “cease-fire” consisted of tit-for-tat attacks on a daily basis, with Israel launching repeated attacks on Gaza and Hamas and other militant groups launching rockets into Israel.

Israel had achieved the pretext it was looking for in order to gain the political cover necessary to wage its assault on the civilian population of Gaza.

And make no mistake; Operation Cast Lead was a war on a civilian population, an extremely murderous act of collective punishment.

The death toll itself stands as an undeniable testament to that, but the manner in which Israel waged its operation also leaves no doubt as to its true objective.

As already noted, Israel claims its operation was designed to end rocket attacks. In truth, it was Israel that deliberately violated and undermined the truce.

Israel also claims its operation was aimed at militants. As evidence of its respect for international law and extraordinary efforts to prevent the loss of innocent life, Israel notes the fact that it dropped thousands of leaflets on Gaza prior to its operations warning civilians to flee the oncoming assault.

But the fact is this is not evidence of Israel’s respect for innocent life, but rather strong evidence that its killing of civilians was deliberate and intended. For starters, civilians, told to flee, had nowhere to go. No place in Gaza was safe from Israel’s attacks. Furthermore, in some cases civilians were told to go to city centers, and, after many had done so, those same locations were then purposefully bombed by Israel.

Israel’s claimed respect for innocent life is also belied by its means of indiscriminate warfare. Israel heavily bombarded civilian population centers. It deliberately and systematically targeted civilian locations with protected status under international law, including schools and hospitals.

Israel also used indiscriminate weaponry, including white phosphorus munitions. The use of white phosphorus is permitted under international law for illuminating the battlefield or creating smokescreens. However, its use as an incendiary weapon (it is also a chemical weapon, in that its incendiary effect is the result of a chemical reaction) is a violation of international law and a war crime, particularly when used indiscriminately against populated areas and civilian locations such as schools, as it was in Gaza.

Moreover, Israel, demonstrated extreme contempt for and defiance to the United Nations and the international community by deliberately targeting U.N. sites within Gaza. It targeted U.N. clinics, schools, and other compounds.

Israel attacked humanitarian convoys attempting to deliver much needed supplies to the desperate people of Gaza, and in other cases prevented medical teams, including from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from reaching victims of its assault, also a war crime.

Israel also deliberately targeted a U.N. warehouse where humanitarian supplies were being stored, attacking the site with white phosphorus munitions, resulting in the warehouse and goods inside catching fire and nearly burning to the ground.

All of these actions by Israel, all well documented and incontrovertible, constitute grave war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and other relevant treaties of international law.

The U.S. Role

Israel’s contempt for innocent life, for the international community, and for international law is perhaps matched only by the U.S. willingness to support Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Simply stated, without U.S. support, none of this could go on.

The U.S. supports Israel financially. Aid to Israel is on the order of $3 billion a year. This money is given, unlike aid to other countries, with no strings attached, and with little to no oversight about how it is to be used.

Even if it is not used directly to finance Israeli policies and activities in violation of international law, such as its ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, construction of settlements in the West Bank, construction of a its “separation barrier” within the West Bank, destruction of Palestinian homes and other property, killing of Palestinian civilians, etc., U.S. financial support allows Israel to free up other funding for these illegal activities. It effectively rewards Israel for criminal actions.

The U.S. supports Israel militarily. And military equipment provided by the U.S. is used by Israel for actions constituting war crimes under international law. The massacre in Gaza was carried out with the help of U.S.-provided Apache helicopter gunships, U.S.-provided F-16 fighter bombers, and U.S.-provided munitions, including white phosphorus and cluster munitions.

This military support to Israel is not only a violation of international law and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on member states not to provide material support for Israeli crimes, but it is also a violation of U.S. law. Besides international treaties such as the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions constituting “the supreme Law of the Land” under the U.S. Constitution, U.S. law forbids the exporting of military equipment to countries that routinely violate international law and commit offenses against human rights. Yet U.S. military support for Israel continues unabated.

The U.S. supports Israel diplomatically. The principle means by which the U.S. does so is through the use of its veto power in the U.N. Security Council. While Israel was using U.S. military hardware to murder innocent Palestinians, the U.S. was actively trying to stall a cease-fire resolution to give Israel more time to carry out its assault. A watered-down version of the resolution was finally found acceptable to the U.S., which reportedly was ready to vote in favor, but after receiving a call from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while not going so far as to cast a veto, instead abstained rather than casting a vote for a resolution rightfully critical of Israel.

The Role of the U.S. Media

The U.S. mainstream corporate media also play a significant role in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and reporting on Operation Cast Lead provides a useful case study into the nature of its role. To describe U.S. media accounts of Israel’s ongoing atrocities in Gaza as “biased” would be a sore understatement.

Take the reporting of the New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record” reporting “all the news that’s fit to print”. Arguably the most widely read and important newspaper in the world, what the Times reports is regularly picked up by other major media, with the newspaper effectively serving as a trend-setter for the news Americans consume. Its impact on the perceptions Americans have of conflicts such as Israel’s war on the civilian population of Gaza is enormous.

The New York Times’ reporting on Israel’s assault was reminiscent of its reporting on Iraq with respect to that nation’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, prior to the initiation of the U.S. war of aggression against that country based on such lies and deceptions as then reported matter-of-factly by the Times.

Propaganda devices employed by the Times in this case, as in the case of Iraq, included the use of euphemisms and the selective reporting of facts.

For instance, although the Times did report initially on Israel’s November 4 violation of the truce, it exercised selective amnesia in its subsequent reporting and described only the “breakdown” of the cease-fire and thus failing to inform readers of the single identifiable causal factor for that “breakdown”.

Moreover, the Times accepted without scrutiny and parroted the official line from Israeli officials that its operation was launched in response to rocket attacks and the violation by Hamas of the truce, thus implicitly and falsely attributing the failure of the cease-fire to its violation by Hamas.

The Times repeatedly and consistently downplayed the true nature of Israel’s assault on Gaza. In one notable example, the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner wrote in an article that Palestinians had “claimed” that Israel was using white phosphorus munitions, employing this propaganda device to intentionally cast doubt in the mind of the reader as to the veracity of the so-called “claim”.

The truth is that Bronner knew perfectly well this was not a “claim”, but a known fact. He could just as well have written at that time that human rights organizations had criticized Israel for its known use of white phosphorus, rather than attributing it as mere a Palestinian “claim”.

By this time, although reporters were banned from entering Gaza, there was no question that Israel was doing so, including proof in photographs showing the unmistakable smoke trails and incendiary projectiles of white phosphorus being used over residential neighborhoods.

Remarkably, the same day Bronner’s article appeared, another article also appeared, written by his Palestinian colleague Taghreed El-Khodary, the Times’ only correspondent actually reporting from inside of Gaza, who reported on finding white phosphorus casings with markings showing that they were U.S.-made.

In El-Khodary’s reports from Gaza, one could find a more reliable account of what was actually happening on the ground, but even her articles were heavily edited and/or rewritten by the Times’ editorial staff, and it was the dishonest and propagandistic reporting of Bronner and his Jerusalem-based British-Israeli colleague Isabel Kershner that generally typified the nature of the Times’ reporting on the massacre.

Countless other examples abound, but it’s beyond the scope of this article and would be superfluous to continue to list them.

The Role of the American People

In short, Americans reading about the violence in U.S. newspapers or watching it on TV received a heavily distorted account of what was going down.

But this is no excuse for ignorance. The facts are known and available to every American with access to the internet. One may turn to the healthy alternative media in the U.S. One may turn to international media sources, including Israeli sources like the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, or Ynet (Yedioth Ahronoth online). One may turn to human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, or the Israeli group B’tselem.

One may also turn to the report of the U.N. Human Rights Council inquiry into the violence, headed up by the respected international jurist Richard Goldstone, who himself happens to be Jewish (a fact worthy of mention due to Israeli and U.S. charges that the report is biased; in another example of U.S. diplomatic support for Israeli crimes, the U.S. has actively sought to block implementation of its recommendations or any Security Council follow-up actions).

Goldstone himself has concluded that Israel’s actions were targeted at the civilian population of Gaza as an act of collective punishment, and his conclusion is well supported by his final report and the evidence it presents.

The facts are beyond dispute. The conclusions are obvious and incontrovertible. It is well past time that the American people wake up to the realities on the ground in the Palestinian territories. Many Americans already demonstrate the modicum of moral integrity required to speak out against their government’s support for Israeli crimes, but it is not enough.

Without massive public opposition to the U.S. policy of supporting Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, the crimes will continue. Israel will continue to act with impunity and continue to violate international law under U.S. cover.

The fact of the matter is that the American people have more power in their hands than any other body to bring about an end to the violence and to create the conditions for a just and sustainable peace in the Middle East.

Americans themselves may not realize this truth, but the international community well recognizes it. And the world is watching, and waiting.

Will the American people continue to turn their heads away and wash their collective hands of the affair, deceiving themselves into believing they have no responsibility for what goes on “over there” and that they have no influence to change things, anyway?

Or will the American people cast away ignorance and apathy and demonstrate intellectual honesty, moral integrity, compassion, and strength of will by standing up and acting to pressure their government to change its policies?

The answer to these questions remains to be seen. Only time will tell. In the meantime, the Palestinian people continue pay the price for the willingness of Americans to allow their government to pursue criminal policies contrary to their own interests and antithetical to the very principles of justice and humanity every American would like to think their country stands for.

- Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent journalist and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. He was among the recipients of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for outstanding investigative journalism, and is the author of "The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination", available from He contributed this article to Visit:

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