Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The media is silent on this one 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not the only ones creating havock in Israel and the occupied territories. Not so surprising news. Followers of Baruch Goldstein™ are on the loose.
There are at least two Jewish terror cells operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, which are responsible for a series of attacks on Palestinian civilians over the past years, an Israeli defense official said Sunday.

The unnamed official told Israel Radio that the Jewish terror cells have killed eight Palestinians and injured several others in the past three years by planting roadside bombs and carrying out shooting attacks.
Over the past two years, five bombs were planted in Palestinian cities and schools, with three found and “neutralized.”

The largest human rights group in Israel is accusing Ariel Sharon (butcher, mass murderer) of a "day-to-day abuse of Palestinians' human rights."

Israel's largest human rights organisation has accused Ariel Sharon's government of undermining the foundations of democracy in the country.

In its annual report, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says the actions of the government "call into question the very basis of democratic principles, the social fabric, and the foundation of human rights in Israel".

In the occupied territories, the report says, human rights have been devastated and "unprecedented injury to civilians" has taken place. It goes on to detail several cases of abuse of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, including one at a checkpoint last April in which a soldier, using a piece of cut glass, carved a Star of David into the throat of a Palestinian civilian who was still alive.

The report is all the more damning to Mr Sharon's government because it comes from an independent Israeli human rights organisation.

The report says that, in the occupied territories, abuses of Palestinians' human rights are "a day-to-day reality".

It says: "Most of the abuses occur not as a result of operational necessity on the part of the IDF [Israeli army], but from vindictiveness on the part of the soldiers, who receive implicit approval to denigrate the dignity, life and liberty of innocent Palestinian civilians."

That is a direct response to the Israeli army, which claims the majority of harm done to innocent Palestinian civilians is regrettable but inevitable "collateral damage".

In answer to the army's claim that it takes abuses by soldiers very seriously, the report quotes data supplied by the army itself, which "reveals that, in reality, most of the incidents, and the majority of deaths, are not investigated".

The report highlights the deaths of Palestinian civilians during assassinations of leading militants by Israeli forces. In the past year, the report says, the army assassinated 80 Palestinian militants, and killed 90 civilian bystanders during those operations.

It also points out that the army continues to use Palestinians as human shields.
One must realize that there is a moral equivalency of suicide bombings and Israeli terror. Both are reprehensible and unacceptable tacticts and both deserve condemnation and denounciation. All major human rights groups have claimed grose human rights neglicence and ignoration for years now. Both are responisble and should be punished for their crimes. Here's advice: look at the numbers.

Economic occupation 

It may be an old article, but it lays out what I have been thinking. This July 2nd article tells the story.
Faisal Shawwa, Palestinian olive grower and US citizen, is a man in search of compensation.
In late May, Israeli bulldozers plowed under 1,524 of his five-year-old olive trees - leaving a lone tree standing. The Israelis also destroyed an automated well and the irrigation system that delivered water to the trees. "It's not for security, it's just hate," Mr. Shawwa says. He plans to sue the Israeli government.

He and some other businesspeople in this northern Gaza town are stunned by what they are finding in the wake of the Israeli military's withdrawal: industrial buildings flattened, machinery ripped apart, trees uprooted.

"It's an earthquake," says the Palestinian Authority's governor for Gaza, Mohammed al-Qudwa, standing amid the remains of what was once the territory's largest floor-tile factory. "This is the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Palestinian people;it's not for security reasons," he adds, citing the Israeli rationale for the demolition of trees and buildings.

"There isn't an ulterior motive. Beit Hanoun turned into a launchpad for the firing of rockets and mortars into Israeli towns," says Major Sharon Feingold, an Israeli army spokesperson. She estimates that the Palestinians fired some 250 rockets and mortars from the northern Gaza Strip. "We do not engage in collective punishment as the Palestinians wish to think," she adds. "But people who harbor and support terrorism will pay the price."

Beginning late Sunday, Israel began withdrawing from this town of some this town of some 30,000 people, ending an incursion that lasted about a month and half. The move marked Israel's first significant action in support of a US-backed peace effort, known as the road map, that Israel and the Palestinians have pledged to follow
Over the course of the past two years, Israel occupied Beit Hanoun perhaps a half-dozen times. But in eradicating the threats emanating from Beit Hanoun, the Israelis did their work with a thoroughness that has Palestinians wondering if economic motives were at play.

Jamil Abu Ghalion, the burly, square-faced owner of the floor-tile factory, wandered through his facility Tuesday with the corners of his mouth turned down and his palms sometimes turned upward in exasperation. He says he has no plans to rebuild. "With what?" he asks. "Who is going to compensate us?"

He and the governor speculate that the Israelis destroyed the factory - dismantling and smashing machinery, emptying scores of bags of white cement, piercing the corrugated-metal roof with bullets - because it competes with businesses in Israel.
Palestinian businessmen who work in the area say much of destruction was carried out after the gunfight. Even so, the painstaking trashing of the factory prompted accusations of economic sabotage. "They selected what they wanted to destroy," said one businessman in the governor's entourage who declined to be identified by name. "They destroyed everything so no one can repair it."

At another business in Beit Hanoun's industrial area, workers are still puzzling over why the Israelis razed a huge, brand-new cattle shed on May 21. Today the Afana Products Company's $800,000 investment is a heap of twisted metal columns and crumpled sheeting.

The Israeli bulldozers, says company accountant Nizar al-Helou, went to the trouble of digging a hole to bury the wreckage of the structure.
Shawwa, the olive grower, offers a different explanation for the razing of his grove: "Water, water, water." This theory, he suggests, explains why the Israelis attacked his well in addition to his trees.

He and a cousin argue that the Israelis want to destroy Palestinian agriculture in order to reduce water consumption, leaving more in the ground for Israel.

Across the road from his grove, Shawwa's uncle Salah, a retired grower, stands in his front yard and supervises the construction of a new fence. Israeli forces used his property and to create a checkpoint along the road.

A small, gray-haired man with a few missing teeth, he also mourns for his garden. "They uprooted all of my trees... olive, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, pomelo. I was keeping all the old citrus of Palestine," he explains.

Salah Shawwa, part of a venerable and wealthy Gaza family, says he is wary about the future. Rather than rebuild his wall in cement and brick, he is opting for cheaper chainlink and barbed wire. Israel forces, in repeat incursions, have already destroyed one rebuilt fence.

He is not alone in his skepticism. "There is no business," says the member of the governor's entourage, repeating the phrase twice more. "Everyone is cautious now. Everyone has to think not twice but 20 times before doing business in the Palestinian territories when they see this happen.... Capital is a coward."
That's not all. This report on the economic, social and cultural rights(PDF) of Palestinians from the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen’s Rights sums it up:
Palestinians in the OPTs have been denied access to their right to adequately nutritious food and water by the Israeli military in four key ways: first, through a variety of measures taken by Israel that have led to severe economic losses and unemployment leading to increased poverty levels, resulting in decreased ability to purchase food and water Secondly, in physical denial of access to food and water through closures and curfews including from humanitarian agencies such as UNRWA, and the World Food Programme. Thirdly, with denial of access to water by destruction of water networks and infrastructure; lack of proper maintenance of existing infrastructure; outright prevention of Palestinians from drilling and constructing water delivery facilities; discriminatory distribution and insufficient water supply to Palestinians in areas that the Israeli water utility services operate; pollution of water supplies by dumping of toxic materials. Fourthly, by denial of access to agricultural land for harvesting and destruction of agricultural land, crops, and livestock.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Misleading bastards 

Is Sharon commited to the roadmap? Should I pause for laughter. [Ed-note: Emphasis mine]

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pledged Monday to continue removing unauthorized settlement outposts from the West Bank, but warned against equating them with settlements built with government approval.

Sharon was called into the parliament to answer opposition motions criticizing his government for failing to remove dozens of tiny outposts put up on West Bank hilltops in the past two years. The U.S.-backed ``road map'' peace plan requires Israel to remove all the settlement points put up since March 2002.

Sharon said that Israeli governments in the past have removed illegally built settlements, ``and this is how we intend to act in the future.''

Dovish opposition members told the parliament that while Israeli forces had removed eight of the unauthorized outposts, settlers had put up at least seven new ones in the meantime.

The parliament approved Sharon's statement by a vote of 47 in favor, 27 against and one abstention, reflecting the division of forces in the house between Sharon's coalition government and the opposition.

Sharon complained that his political opponents were referring to the unauthorized outposts in the same category as the 150 settlements in the West Bank that were authorized by successive Israeli governments. ``By that they strengthen our enemies,'' Sharon said.

Opponents said the settlements stand in the way of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, who consider all the settlements to be illegal encroachment on land they claim for a state.

Sharon said the fate of the settlements would be determined in final-status negotiations with the Palestinians on a peace treaty. ``There is no point in talking about it now,'' he said.

In previous governments, Sharon was instrumental in building and expanding many of the settlements in the West Bank. Settlers and their supporters make up a significant part of his electoral constituency.
You and I know that the Butcher want won't "dismantle his consistuency."

India and Israel: partners in occupation 

Wow. Israel and India teaming up? There must be something going on. Are all Hindus converting to Judaism? Nope. A common goal maybe?
Indians and Jews share "a passionate commitment to respect for others, for the rule of law and for democracy," Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, told the jubilant crowd after the House vote. "And lately we have been drawn together by our joint fight against mindless, vicious, fanatic Islamic terrorism."

In recent months, pro-Israel and pro-India lobbyists successfully worked together to gain the Bush administration's approval for Israel to sell four Phalcon early warning radar planes to India for about $1 billion, a deal that has alarmed the Pakistani government. Three years ago, the United States blocked a nearly identical proposal for Israel to sell radar planes to China.
Oh, Tom, just shut up.

The common goal are their ties with China. Israel sold China Python missiles and India has bi-lateral agreements with China and is arming the Reds with nukes.

And it isn't Islamic terrorism Tom. Kashmir is vastly Muslim. So are Gaza and the West Bank. Occupied by...Israel and China. The JKLF were the biggest terrorists in Kashmir years before Islamic terrorism introduced itself. India has a problem with peripheral regions wanting to leave. In the Christian Northeast, there are several secessionist and autonomous movements. Why do people not say "the international Christian enemy"? In Punjab, a Sikh terrorist and liberation movement killed an Indian PM and committed the worst terrorist act in modern history prior to 9/11. Why do people not say "sikhs are the enemy of India?" Double standard: the reason that Muslims are singled out is that the Saffronist Hindu fundamentalists use the Muslim bogeyman to win elections. The more the Shiv Sena and its ilk can demonize Indian Muslims and frighten Indians with the Pakistani menace, the more votes they can win.

Face it Israel and India. Occupation breeds terrorism. Kashmir. Palestine. Northern Ireland. The 13 colonies in the 18th century. Common enemies? More like "common targets."

Hypocrite of the year award 

...goes to Paul Wolfowitz. Mr. Chicken Hawk - one of the countless pro-Israeli members of the Bush administration paid a visit to Baghdad. I got all suspicious, because what would he want? Check the oil pipe lines? Nah, it was to make sure that nobody touches Iraq's oil.

I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq," said Wolfowitz, who is touring the country to meet U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.
"Those who want to come and help are welcome," he said. "Those who come to interfere and destroy are not."

"I think our success will have a positive influence not just on Iraq but on the whole region," he said. "Some people are afraid of that influence and they are targeting us."
Translation: I think our success (oil flowing from Iraq to Haifa) will have a positive influence (huge profits) not just on Iraq but on the whole region (it will scare the shit out of Iran, who will stop building nukes). Look Paul, the only reason you are being targetted is because you commited war crimes, you are killing little kids and because you're shooting kids of houses. It has nothing to do why you're here, but what you are doing.

Also, it's quite hypocritical of you to tell others to stop interfring in internal affairs. How about you let the Iraqis set up their council, huh?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Speaks for itself.. 


Partners in hate: the enemy of the enemy is my best friend 

Radical Islam was called a "virus" by Tony Blair today, but the media and the world do have a double standard. Yes, there are racist Jews. Yes, there are Jewish terrorists. Yes, there are Jewish supremacists. Yes, there are Jewish extremists. It occurs in all religions, not just Islam. Reuters let us know that there's hate from all sides. Or shall I say both?

Neo-Nazis, Extremist Jews Unite
French neo-Nazis formed an alliance with extremist Jewish groups on the Internet to publish a torrent of hate messages directed against Arabs and Muslims, according to a report by a leading anti-racist group.

Members of extreme-right groups were prepared to set aside their anti-Semitic feelings to share Web space and know-how with extremist pro-Israeli campaigners, amid a rise in violence in the Middle East, the report said.

"This is a new phenomenon," said Mouloud Aounit, head of the MRAP group which published the 170-page report. "We wanted to ring an alarm bell over the worrying development of this form of racism which is not only virtual, but has also spread to everyday life."

The report said 26 websites, traced to right-wing and Jewish extremists groups in France, operated from the same server in the United States between 1999 and March this year.

Members of the groups also shared advice on how to send messages without leaving electronic trails.

Investigators believed the sites were taken down because of disagreement between the groups over the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Jewish extremists supported the action but some French far right-wingers were against it.

French police had no reaction to the report and France's main Jewish organization, CRIF, was not immediately available for comment.

Aounit said the unlikely alliance could resurface soon.

The report said that between 2001 and 2003, the groups sent 1,000 messages a day, including incitements to attack mosques in the hope of triggering civil war between Arabs and other French people.

They also included messages calling for the assassination of President Jacques Chirac, referred to ironically as Ben Shirak, whom extremists accused of handing power to Muslim interests.

A year ago, a member of the anti-foreigner National Republican Movement tried to gun down Chirac at the annual Bastille Day parade, days after posting a message on a British neo-Nazi site boasting that he would soon be famous.

Chirac has called for a crackdown on racism following anti-Semitic attacks and signs that the war in Iraq had increased tension between France's Jews and Muslims.

However, Aounit said the government remained indifferent to the flood of hate messages pouring out over the Internet.

"There is obviously the question of legislation, which must be addressed at the European level," Aounit said. "But if there is the political will, if you give cyber-cops the means to investigate, you could very rapidly arrest, identify the authors."
This was a message from the Jewish Alliance in favor of Anti-Semitism™.

Obstacle to peace? 

I already reported on Israel's denial of facts (occupation and legitimacy of it), but now Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov commented on the Knesset resolution.

Russia believes that any decision or action of this sort destroys the basic principles of the peace process, and it is not in harmony with the political process," he told reporters after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"We hope that people will refrain from adopting such resolutions," said Ivanov.

"The peace process must have the sound and peaceful foundations represented by international agreements, the (1991) Madrid conference, U.N. resolutions and the Arab initiative adopted at the (2002) Beirut summit," he said, referring to the principle of exchanging land for peace.
The bill outlined to the Israeli government red lines that must not be crossed in any future peace egotiations including full Israeli sovereignty over the holy city of occupied Jerusalem and absolute opposition to the return of Palestinian refugees into their omes inside Israel.
First of all, this prohibts Ariel Sharon from achieving two internationally-recognized legal rights and objectives of the road map. First of all, the illegal occupation by Israel. In 1967, Israel occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). It was also in the aftermath of the 1967 war that Israel immediately annexed East Jerusalem, and declared the whole of Jerusalem its, "eternal capitol." Annexing territory taken by force is illegal under international law. Neither Berlin [Germany] nor Tokyo [Japan] were annexed at the end of World War II. United Nations General Assembly resolution 2253, of July 1967 "called upon Israel to rescind all measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking action which would alter the status of Jerusalem."

Secondly, the right of return is supported by many international laws: Article 13 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights declares that "everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own and return, to his country."

Article 12 of the the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that "1) everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence, 2) everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own, 3) the above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant, 4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country."

There are several other legalities to the Right of Return, such as the "Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees" of 28 July 1951 and "United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194" of 11 December 1948.

Who's standing in the way of peace now?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Abbas coming to Washington 

The Palestinian Authority today let it know that Abbas will visit the White House, days after Condi Rice promised $20 million dollars in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, Palestinian NGOs decided to cut off ties with the USAID, after it banned aid to those who were engaged in legitimate resistance against the IDF in the battlefield. ''They want to willingly condemn our people and their honorable struggle. We don't need their money," a NGO in Ramallah declared.

In an awkward story today, a Palestinian car thief changed a Jewish settler's car tire, after the woman was stranded on a West Bank road. The woman commented, "but he immediately told me not to worry and started changing the wheel, explaining that it was his duty to help Israelis because of the truce." And they say the truce doesn't any good for the Israelis. As for the kidnapping of the Israeli cabby, the Israeli army declared that Palestinian involvement was unclear.

A Canadian Muslim who organized a scholarship to honour murdered Jewish American journalist Daniel Pearl was harassed and humuliated by the security of the Israeli airline-company "El Al." The Canadian commented, "They are not treating people as individuals. I don't treat Jewish people on the basis of how I see Israeli soldiers behave. I don't say all Jews are like that." Damn right.

More terrorist attacks by settlers, who beat up a 12-year old child with automatic rifles. The ironic part? The IDF arrested the victims for defending themselves.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Iraq's forgotton Palestinians 

Here's an op-ed written by Shannon Meehan and Ada Williams that was published in the LA Times.

Refugees Are Iraq's Forgotten People

On the grounds of the Haifa Sports Club in central Baghdad, 250 Palestinian families live in a tent camp, sweltering in heat that exceeds 125 degrees.

The camp's residents are mostly women, children and elderly people. To drink, they must haul water from distant faucets. Mothers complain that their children can't sleep because of the heat, and the frightening rattle of gunfire during the night.

What's shocking is not that there are unhappy refugees in Baghdad in the wake of the war but that for more than two months the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority did not know they were there. Yet these families are just a small sliver of the 130,000 displaced people living in Iraq, families whose existence is not recognized, whose needs are not being met — not because the coalition doesn't care but because it lacks the systematic strategy and clear vision necessary for success. If there is a master plan for reconstruction, the public has not seen it, and without it, micro-level problems become chronic as the Iraqis grow impatient and restless.

From top to bottom, no one seems quite sure where to go to find solutions. Being an Iraqi with a problem is like standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles holding a number no one calls. Though accompanied by a military escort, one Iraqi woman embroiled in a property dispute spent two weeks simply trying to find the Civil Affairs Office to which she had been directed. No soldier or coalition administrator even knew where the building was.

The United States appears firmly committed to one policy: holding the United Nations at bay. Unfortunately, minimizing U.N. involvement deprives the U.S. of the U.N.'s long experience in Iraq and its emergency-response skills. In past conflicts — in Kosovo, for instance, and more recently Afghanistan — the U.N. has been involved in all facets of reconstruction, from food distribution and water and sanitation projects to the training and equipping of police forces.

In Iraq, all of these services have been placed under control of the U.S. Department of Defense, which has demonstrated little capacity to fill the coordination void. The U.S. is also making little effort to use humanitarian relief organizations now operating on an ad hoc basis in Iraq.

Another problem is that due to a lack of security, coalition officials are required to travel with heavy military protection, submitting proposed itineraries 48 hours or more in advance. Where the situation is most hazardous — and where the need often is most dire — travel is simply forbidden. The inability of officials to move freely, even in Baghdad, explains how refugees could go unnoticed and why problems such as a rising number of homeless street kids and the maintaining of order go unresolved.

For more than two months, the coalition did not acknowledge responsibility for the Palestinian families at the sports club. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and other organizations provided some emergency relief and stood ready to resettle them but received no U.S. guidance or authorization. Housing in the city is under coalition control, and without coalition approval, neither the camp nor its residents may be relocated.

In mid-June, after a scramble through three different ministries, representatives of the coalition and the U.N. refugee agency finally got together to discuss the subject. A coalition official visited the site and the U.N. offered to start repairs on a building that could be a secure and permanent shelter for the refugees. But the coalition authority has yet to approve the plan. No further action has been taken.

Ethnic clashes dispossess new families each day, and the number of economically displaced Iraqis grows. Solving these problems would breed confidence in the potential for a new and stable Iraq. But without a comprehensive plan and a strategy to implement it, the coalition's vision of a new Iraq will remain, like the families camped at the Haifa Sports Club, overlooked and in limbo.

The Israeli comedians 

Comedy in Israel occurs everyday. Today, for example, the Knesset passed a resolution.

Knesset calls on government to develop settlements

The Likud faction in the Knesset on Tuesday took advantage of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's absence from the country to push a hawkish resolution through the Knesset plenum, declaring that the West Bank and Gaza are not occupied territory and urging the government to continue to develop

In a 26-8 vote on the road map, the Knesset decided "the areas of Yesha [the West Bank and Gaza Strip] are not 'occupied territory' - neither historically, according to international law, nor according to political agreements signed by Israel."

The decision says "the Knesset decides that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is a national, historic, eternal right that cannot be questioned" and that "the Knesset strengthens the hands of the settlers in Yesha and calls on the government to continue developing the settlements."

The proposal, offered up by former cabinet secretary MK Gideon Sa'ar, was backed by the prime minister's son, MK Omri Sharon, and ministers Gideon Ezra and Uzi Landau as well as National Union, Shas and National Religious Party MKs. Opposing the bill were MKs from Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties.

Sa'ar said the decision represents a national consensus and is based on the government's guidelines. The resolution includes "red lines: Israeli
sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, preservation of security zones, including a security zone west of the separation fence and one in the east in the Jordan Valley, absolute opposition to any Palestinian refugees being allowed to resettle inside Israel, dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure and an end to
incitement as a condition for any negotiations over political agreements."

Asked if he didn't think the resolution would embarrass the prime minister, in London and Norway for meetings, Sa'ar said, "I learned everything in the resolution from Sharon when we worked together. To the best of my knowledge, all those red lines are acceptable to the prime minister."

Defying internal law (sovereignity over Jerusalem, occupying Palestinian land, development of settlements, right of return) and claiming eternal right. It seems the Israelis are againt anything that enshrined into law, but in favor of everything enshrined into the Torah. That's fine but the Palestinians read the Qu'ran and the Bible, not the Torah. These are all clear violations and in defiance of internal law as laid out by the UN, the Geneva Conventions and the quartet-sponsored Roadmap. I like humor, but this goes to far.

Iraq update 

Both France and India stated today that it won't send troops to keep the peace in Iraq; both citing the UN as a necesarry framework. If the Bush administration truly wants to re-legitimaze and strengthen the role of the UN, it must ensure that the UN has a vital role in reconstruction and post-war managment. The UN is not involved in setting up a new council, finding WMDs nor are it's humanitarian efforts recognized. Why should the UN play a role in ending sanctions but not in building a new life for Iraq? Bush's intentions are clear.

At the same time, we learn that troops will stay longer than necesary and that the cost for the war in Iraq has been $48 billion so far. The occupation will cost $3.9 billion a month, which means that the $62.6 billion authorized by Congress will end in 9 months. Excluded are replacement of damaged equipment, replenishing munitions, all other material consumed and the salaries of active duty soldiers, sailors and airmen. Those expenses amount to a further $23 billion, for the total $58 billion expected by year's end, or so the Pentagon says.

Who's violating their hudna? 

The Palestinan IPC reports that Israel has commited 39 violations after the main Palestinian militant groups signed a cease-fire, or al-hudna, that promised to halt attack on Israeli targets for 3 months. And not a single media source reports on this, blaming it on the Palestinians. The cause for the problems in the Occupied Territory is mainly that the Palestinian security apparatus is in rubble, says Palestinian Authority security chief Mohammed Dahlan in an interview with CNN. Meanwhile, in Baghdad, more than 80,000 Palestinian refugees are packed into one of Baghad's sports stadium after they were kicked out by their landlords. Apparentely, Saddam Hussein was the only person who integrated Palestinian refugees from the 1948 and 1967 war into society and charged only one dollar rent. Their situation no looks hopeless.

There is a coming pro-Palestine student conference scheduled to be held at Rutgers University, which has drawn criticism because of it's outspoken use of free speech.

"The governor is concerned whether this is going to be a balanced forum or a pre-scripted anti-Israeli rally," said Rasmussen.
"I am strongly opposed to our taxpayer dollars being used to help spread their message of hate and intolerance," Bennett wrote in his letter to McGreevey.
It doesn't need to be balanced, according to the Constitution. Neither is it against the law to be have something pre-scripted. Since Bennett seems to care about hate and intolerance, maybe he should go down to Israel and tone down the Israeli ministers in the Knesset, who talk about drowning Palestinians in the Dead Sea. That, Mr. Bennett, is hate speech and that's where it begins. Also, if Mr. Bennett cares so much about taxes going in the wrong direction, I suggest he joins my protest of military and economic assistance to Israel.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Can you say 'smoking gun'? 

Just after CIA director Tenet caught the blame for the whole uranium-thing (but whithout any explanation what went wrong) the Washington Post yesterday reports that Tenet "argued personally [in October of 2002] to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, that the allegation should not be used because it came from only a single source, according to one senior official."

So was it a simple bureaucratic mistake, without any intentional push for false information?
Administration sources said White House officials, particularly those in the office of Vice President Cheney, insisted on including Hussein's quest for a nuclear weapon as a prominent part of their public case for war in Iraq. Cheney had made the potential threat of Hussein having a nuclear weapon a central theme of his August 2002 speeches that began the public buildup toward war with Baghdad.?
Who's that? The same Dick Cheney that visisted the CIA numerous times to have a look around?

Joseph Wilson was the only one that visited Niger. A senior military official from the United States European Command raised questions about the Niger claim, just weeks before Wilson visited.


Time Magazine's cover of this week..

Followed by this text:
The controversy over those 16 words would not have erupted with such force were they not emblematic of larger concerns about Bush's reasoning for going to war in the first place. Making the case against Saddam last year, Bush claimed that Iraq's links to al-Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) made the country an imminent threat to the region and, eventually, the U.S. He wrapped the evidence in the even more controversial doctrine of pre-emption, saying America could no longer wait for proof of its enemies' intentions before defending itself overseas—it must sometimes strike first, even without all the evidence in hand.

Much of the world was appalled by this logic, but Congress and the American public went along. Four months after the war started, at least one piece of key evidence has turned out to be false, the U.S. has yet to find weapons of mass destruction, and American soldiers keep dying in a country that has not greeted its liberators the way the Administration predicted it would. Now the false assertion and the rising casualties are combining to take a toll on Bush's standing with the public.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

The definition of human shields 

The young child in the white shirt is ordered to walk up the stairs and function as a human shield.

A Palestinian boy walks toward the house of a suspected terrorists, risking his life for Israeli soldiers.

Learn more about human shields here.

Putting the blame on Arafat once again 

Remember the incursion into Ramallah in 2002, when it destroyed Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and blamed it for the terrorist bombings it had absolutely no control over? Today -- once again -- Israel tried to put the blame on Yasser Arafat (even though he he's nothing but a ceremonial image in the West Bank) accusing him of undermining the "peace process." It's almost laughable, but I'd rather be serious about it.

It's neither Yasser Arafat (powerless) or Mahmoud Abbas (powerless) who are undermining anything. It's Israel, who just started to build the segregation wall (1). It's Israel demolishing houses and assassinating militant leaders (2) and not releasing political prisoners on a hunger strike. It's Jewish settlers who are rebuilding settlements (3) and shooting children (4).
"Every act of this nature only postpones the progress in the process," Ariel Sharon said.
Is it the way he looks at you, Ariel? Are you homophobic or something?

It was Arafat, who reminded me of what Sharon indeed said 3 decades ago.
"Is this the first time he says this?" Arafat said. "Did he forget what he said during the siege of Beirut? Did he forget what he said during the '73 war?"
Remember the "Bar Lev line" Ariel? Remember it? The Palestinians destroyed it and whatever line or wall you set up, it will be destroyed. Palestinians never forget your history.
It comes down to reality where myth and disinformation has to be debunked:
"He's using Arafat as an excuse not to implement the road map." Saeb Erekat said.

NYT reports on effects of the Segregation Wall 

Finally, a big media outlet reported the true effects of the so-called "security" wall, dubbed by other the seperation or segregation wall. Greg Myre reports:

Palestinian Village Finds Itself Walled In, Not Out

HIRBAT JUBARA, West Bank, July 10 — Ishan Awad's well-tended garden, anchored by olive and palm trees and lined with pink roses, is a soothing place to spend a summer afternoon sipping thick black coffee.

But with Israel's new security fence closing in on his village, Mr. Awad feels a sense of captivity rather than relaxation. "This fence is trapping us," said Mr. Awad, 39. "There is no way we can live a normal life." The barrier will soon stretch along much of the northern West Bank. Its sole purpose, Israel says, is to keep Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers out of Israeli towns. The Americans did not object to the barrier in its initial stages a year ago, when it appeared that it was being erected on or near the Green Line, Israel's boundary with the West Bank. But as the project has grown, the fence has begun to jut deep into the West Bank, creating isolated Palestinian enclaves like Khirbat Jubara, just south of the city of Tulkarm.

Palestinians denounce the barrier as a confiscation of their land, and two weeks ago, the American national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his cabinet that the fence was taking on the appearance of a political border. When Mr. Awad looks to the north and east from his farming village, home to about 350 people, he sees the chain-link fence, topped with barbed wire. Deep trenches run along each side, and a parallel strip of asphalt was built for Israeli security patrols. When Mr. Awad looks to the south, he sees the red-roofed homes of the Jewish hilltop settlement of Salit.

The only direction that is not blocked off is to the west — toward Israel — even though the point of putting up the fence is to separate Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has well over 100 settlements in the West Bank, and including them has sent the fence line zigging and zagging, ultimately placing some Palestinian villages, like Khirbat Jubara, on the Israeli side. To reach Israel, Mr. Awad and his fellow villagers would have to traverse several miles of olive groves and rocky hills and would then most likely be arrested by Israeli security forces for being there illegally.

The once prosperous village has large two-story cinderblock homes with surrounding farmland, but little else. Residents must travel to neighboring villages and towns to go to school, to work, to shop or to receive medical treatment. The fence has gates allowing residents into other Palestinian areas in the West Bank, but the crossings are controlled by Israeli security guards, whose hours are unpredictable. Also, the gates close at night, in effect imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Israel's Defense Ministry, responsible for building the fence, says it "has made every attempt to plan the route so as to avoid any undue hardship to the local population."

Contractors, the ministry says, have replanted 60,000 Palestinian olive trees in the path of the barrier. And Israel is offering compensation for land seized, but Palestinians have turned down the offer on the ground it would amount to acceptance of the Israeli policy. Tulkarm, which is just over the next hill from Khirbat Jubara, has been the launching pad for many Palestinian suicide bombers, and Israel says it must maintain a strong security presence in the area. A short distance to the south, the entire town of Qalqilya, a hotbed of Palestinian militancy, is being completely ringed by the fence, with only a gate crossing to the east.

That is little consolation for residents in Khirbat Jubara, many of them poultry farmers whose businesses have been ruined because they have been unable to travel to buy supplies or take their chickens to market. "If the Israelis want to build a fence on the Green Line, that's all right with me," Mr. Awad said. "Then we could get to our land and travel to other places in the West Bank." Looking at the landscape and a map of the area, it appears that the fence could have been built to keep Khirbat Jubara on the Palestinian side. But Mr. Awad says he believes that the Israelis chose instead to incorporate his village, with its 50 families, because by doing so they could take control of a sizable chunk of land.

The fence project is likely to become even more controversial as it moves farther south, encountering the three largest Jewish settlement blocs — north, east and south of Jerusalem. The fence will have to go even farther into the West Bank to incorporate those areas. A fence also is going up around Jerusalem itself. Eleven-mile segments on the northern and southern edges of the city are near completion, and a barrier is planned to the east of the city. This fence will put the nearly 200,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem on the same side as the Israelis, while separating them from Palestinians in the West Bank.

Among Israelis, the fence is seen as the best way to reduce major Palestinian attacks. Of the 95 suicide bombings against Israel, virtually all have come from the West Bank, which had no barrier until the fence began going up last year. No Palestinian suicide bombers have made it out of the Gaza Strip, which has a fence running along its flat, sandy boundaries. Mr. Sharon is a reluctant supporter of the project. Like many Israeli hawks, he has opposed land concessions to the Palestinians and is hesitant to set down a barrier that could be seen as a future border.

Israeli supporters of the fence say Mr. Sharon is dragging his feet. "We believe the entire fence could be built within 12 months," said Mark Luria, spokesman for the Public Council for a Security Fence in Israel, a private group. "Our contention is that Sharon is not for this project."

Meanwhile, the parents of Tom Hurndall - victims of Israeli terror - speak about their son who was killed while trying to shield Palestinian kids from IDF gunfire. Their goal is to prosecute the soldier respsonsible.

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