People need to wake up!
Gaza and the West Bank are open air concentration camps, these are the new Warsaw Ghetto.
Auschwitz is still in operation it has been renamed Gaza, and the students have outdid the master.
New Facts on the Ground January 15, 2013Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: 20 tents, abby zimet, bab al-shams, bab alshams, e1, facts on the ground, israel, Palestine, palestine genocide, Palestinians, roger hollander, west bank
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by Abby Zimet
The (illegal) Israeli eviction of the 20 tents and 200 Palestinians of Bab al-Shams in the West Bank’s disputed “E1″ is not the end of the story, most observers say, but the beginning of a smart new form of popular resistance that turns the Israeli penchant for citing “facts on the ground” against itself. Photos, Twitter, and more on Israeli lawlessness, what the village means to the author of the original “Bab al-Shams,” what it means to many others.
“Bab Alshams is the gate to our freedom and steadfastness. Bab Alshams is our gate to Jerusalem. Bab Alshams is the gate to our return…For decades, Israel has established facts on the ground as the International community remained silent in response to these violations. The time has come now to change the rules of the game, for us to establish facts on the ground – our own land.”
as a Canadian Jew i feel almost sick to my stomach seeing this photograph of humanity vs. the arrogant injustice of Israeli power.
Indeed, serenidade. i know a reserve soldier in the IDF (i’ve never been to Israel) who has over the years gone thru changes and now, as a photojournalist covering peaceful Palestinian protests in the West Bank, gets teargassed by Israeli soldiers and border police. Contrary to their own regulations, the soldiers and police shoot straight at photojournalists. This man i know has meanwhile been making Palestinian friends, and has realized that it is only when we connect with the “other” that we can see that s/he is the same as ourselves.
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Consumed By the Flames: The Myth of the Moral Army August 28, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Human Rights, Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: gaza, idf, israel, israeli justice, israeli occupation, Palestine, rachel corrie, roger hollander, west bank
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Roger’s note: A sad but not unexpected verdict by Israeli “Justice” on the murder of Rachel Corrie.
by Abby Zimet
The ruling by an Israeli court that the death of activist Rachel Corrie was an accident of her own making, and not part of a brutal Israeli mindset that sees anyone – child, peaceful protester, innocent bystander – as a legitimate target, makes it truly, as Corrie’s long-suffering mother said, a bad day for humanity, and the rule of law. It also raises the grievous question: If Israel insists on calling Hamas a terrorist organization, what to call the Israeli army?
thank you cindy and craig corrie for standing up in the name of your daughter. please send the corrie’s a message; let them know you appreciate their herculean efforts to seek justice in the face of murderers.
“If Israel insists on calling Hamas a terrorist organization, what to call the Israeli army?”
agents of a racist apartheid state.
We have had the “moral army” myth for thousands of years. Roman soldiers had “virtus” or manliness in killing. The Catholic Church has its “just war” doctrine to justify mass slaughter of innocents.
All soldiers in all armies in the entire history of the world are murderers and rapists, or their accomplices.
‘What Our Society Is Made of’: Former IDF Soldiers Confess Abuse of Palestinian Children August 27, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
Tags: breaking the silence, gaza, idf, israel, israel occupation, israeli military, israeli soldiers, Palestine, palestinian children, roger hollander, west bank
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Published on Monday, August 27, 2012 by Common Dreams
Testimony by ex-Israeli Defense Force soldiers reveals a devastating portrayal of ill-treatment and abuse of Palestinian youth by members of Israel’s occupying army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
An Israeli soldier restrains a Palestinian girl crying over the arrest of her mother during a protest over land confiscation in al-Nabi Saleh. (Photo: AFP)
The testimony by more than 30 soldiers, and fashioned into a booklet by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former IDF soldiers dedicated to speaking out against Israeli policy in the occupied territories, contains descriptions of beatings, intimidation and humiliation of Palestinian children.
“It is crucial that people in Israel are confronted about what it means for Palestinian children to live under military occupation,” says Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence.
“This is what [Israeli] society is made of, you cannot ignore it, you cannot just run away from it — this is who we are as people and I think this is something we should face.”
The group plans to hand out copies of the testimonies to Israel high school students in the coming weeks as the school year begins.
“Exposing our teens to this reality is not a trivial matter,” says Avner Gvaryahu, a former soldier who both contributed testimony for the report and works for the organization.
“The group hesitated to distribute the brochure among high school students,” he said, “but it was eventually decided to go through with it. I’m queasy about it even though I understand that it’s necessary… If you’re old enough to enlist and carry a weapon, you’re old enough to know what’s really happening in the territories.”
The Independent excerpts testimony from the booklet:
First Sergeant, Kfir Brigade
“We took over a school and had to arrest anyone in the village who was between the ages of 17 and 50. When these detainees asked to go to the bathroom, and the soldiers took them there, they beat them to a pulp and cursed them for no reason, and there was nothing that would legitimise hitting them. An Arab was taken to the bathroom to piss, and a soldier slapped him, took him down to the ground while he was shackled and blindfolded. The guy wasn’t rude and did nothing to provoke any hatred or nerves. Just like that, because he is an Arab. He was about 15, hadn’t done a thing.
“In general people at the school were sitting for hours in the sun. They could get water once in a while, but let’s say someone asked for water five times, a soldier could come to him and slap him just like that. I saw many soldiers using their knees to hit them, just out of boredom. Because you’re standing around for 10 hours doing nothing, you’re bored, so you hit them. I know that at the bathroom, there was this ‘demons’ dance’ as it was called. Anyone who brought a Palestinian there – it was catastrophic. Not bleeding beatings – they stayed dry – but still beatings.”
First Sergeant, Combat Engineering Corps
“There was this incident where a ‘straw widow’ was put up following a riot at Qalandiya on a Friday, in an abandoned house near the square. Soldiers got out with army clubs and beat people to a pulp. Finally the children who remained on the ground were arrested. The order was to run, make people fall to the ground. There was a 10- to 12-man team, four soldiers lighting up the area. People were made to fall to the ground, and then the soldiers with the clubs would go over to them and beat them. A slow runner was beaten – that was the rule.
“We were told not to use it on people’s heads. I don’t remember where we were told to hit, but as soon as a person on the ground is beaten with such a club, it’s difficult to be particular.”
First Sergeant, Kfir Brigade
“We’d often provoke riots there. We’d be on patrol, walking in the village, bored, so we’d trash shops, find a detonator, beat someone to a pulp, you know how it is. Search, mess it all up. Say we’d want a riot? We’d go up to the windows of a mosque, smash the panes, throw in a stun grenade, make a big boom, then we’d get a riot.
“Every time we’d catch Arab kids.You catch him, push the gun against his body. He can’t make a move – he’s totally petrified. He only goes: ‘No, no, army.’ You can tell he’s petrified. He sees you’re mad, that you couldn’t care less about him and you’re hitting him really hard the whole time. And all those stones flying around. You grab him like this, you see? We were mean, really. Only later did I begin to think about these things, that we’d lost all sense of mercy.”
Rank and unit unidentified in report
“One night, things were hopping in Idna village [a small town of 20,000 people, about 13km west of Hebron], so we were told there’s this wild riot, and we should get there fast. Suddenly we were showered with stones and didn’t know what was going on. Everyone stopped suddenly; the sergeant sees the company commander get out of the vehicle and joins him. We jump out without knowing what was going on – I was last. Suddenly I see a shackled and blindfolded boy. The stoning stopped as soon as the company commander gets out of the car. He fired rubber ammo at the stone-throwers and hit this boy.
“At some point they talked about hitting his face with their knees. At that point I argued with them and said: ‘I swear to you, if a drop of his blood or a hair falls off his head, you won’t sleep for three nights. I’ll make you miserable.’
Auschwitz is still in operation it has been renamed Gaza, and the students have outdid the master.
I have seen video footage of the violence against Palestinians by the Israeli forces…this was twenty years ago. The Israeli’s have become everything that we hated about Hitler’s regime. Maybe there’s no gas chambers, but does that make it OK? As an American, I am ashamed of what our troops have done in the middle east. I am ashamed that my government continues to give money to the Israeli’s. I am ashamed that my government has continued to perpetuate this brutality. Please forgive those of us who are trying to change that. Please forgive the Jewish people around the world for what the Israeli’s are doing. Hateful, abusive people are found in every “developed” society. They are the fringe in most cases, but those who do nothing to stop these atrocities are just as bad.
What a powerful video. Pity that it, or anything like it, will never be seen on mainstream media in the U.S.
The opportunity missed by Israel after the second world war can be measured by all the budgets all the world knows today that support war. Whatever the supposed, collective religious claims of that nation may be, they like so many others, are visibly set against peace. War is the proof.
Irrespective of our collective failures, the opportunity to end war today must now be measured by the social implications of shifting out of and away from what may be the greatest weight of failed, misguided financial foolishness humanity has ever known. You won’t stop spending what you spend on war. All human suffering today is the price humanity pays for your commitment to war. The budget is the proof.
Rectifying this insane imbalance stands as the greatest challenge human intelligence has ever been faced with. Honesty and commitment to the obvious alternative is the straight-line solution.
How many need to be strapped into a movie theater seat Clockwork Orange style to be compelled to come to understand the real implications of their own complicity. How do we take collective responsibility for the real Task of shifting away from our collective commitment to the priority of warring ways of competition.
War or Peace has risen to the place of a final, fortunately single, wide-scale, potentially world-wide policy choice. It is the measure of your investments that prevents the essential honesty necessary to the only agenda that matters in our world today. Everything else we speak about by any means in public is convenient avoidance resting either in denial or resignation all of which is the childish, irresponsible, myopic immaturity of fear.
Any adult among us who will not stand for the essential, single, polite demand for a worldwide agenda founding a final peace has reason to educate him- or herself about the real details of the financial reality currently committed to weaponry and ALL the skins it infects.
All of every other thing any of us pay any attention to whatsoever is entirely irrelevant. One nation, any nation, ready to stand for Peace could accomplish the necessary Task, and today none will.
One could substitute [any armed forces] abusing and terrorizing [any subject civilian population] during [any occupation in any part of the world during any time period].
I appreciate this apparently truthful news piece and just want to expand it to the bigger picture of what horrid things we humans historically and currently are, unfortunately, capable of. It’s not a pretty picture but is one we have to acknowledge before we can move forward to eventually become what we could and should be.
It may be as simple as teaching how to handle anger and frustration as well as the rewards of caring and helping others. Of course, the PTB do the opposite, guiding anger and frustration of whatever group against some other group, keeping the horrid injustice going on and on and on. If there is an ‘enemy’, it’s those who lie and encourage or condone inhumane behavior.
This violence and hatred toward Palestinians is no more an accident or “fringe behavior” than is any other racist actions we see around the globe or in our own cities. This is drummed into soldiers of the US as they are sent into the Middle East and Afghanistan. They call Iraqis and Afghani’s Haji’s and towel heads. This is what the army wants , so they can prosecute this war and commit the atrocities necessary to make way for their dominance of energy sources around the globe.for the benefiit of Exxon-Mobil and the finance bankers of Wall Street. the Israeli’s are no different in their racism and fascist control of occupied territories than other larger imperialists. They all represent the sickness of capitalism and the need for a global communist movement to lead our class to bring about revolutionary change and rule of the 99%, the working class. We nned revolutionary youth to be organized to go into the military and win the alliegiance of working class GI’s , so when we are strong enough we can turn the guns around and bring down the imperialist empires. Then and only then can we hope to establish an egalitarian world without racism, war, exploitatrion or money. Then we can produce and distribute to all based on neednot profit.
History will show that when Truman gave Palestinian land to the Jews from Germany, the Arab leaders told him that there would be no peace thereafter. There has been no peace. The Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Diaspora happened 2,000 years ago. Under what law did Truman have the right to give land in the Middle East to German Jews? Prior to that, German Jews were migrating peacefully to Palestine and buying land to farm. They were neighbors of the local Palestinians. That worked. The Wahrburg banking family in NYC donated money to plant trees and build schools. They told Truman not to expropriate land from the Palestinians, not to create a State of Israel. We now have a permanent state of war; we now have a permanent occupation of Palestinian land. And, to add to this awfulness, Israel is encouraging Russian Jews to come to Israel for “free” land. Settlers on the West Bank are expropriating more land from Palestinian pastoral farmers. When does it stop? When does the United States Congress stop supporting this land grab?
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Let’s be clear, Assange is not a fugitive from justice. He has not been charged with any crime in any country. He has not raped any women. There are no indictments pending in any court, and as no charges have been brought against him, there is no validity to the Swedish extradition request. It is not normal for people to be extradited for questioning, especially when, as in Assange’s case, he expressed his complete cooperation with being questioned a second time by Swedish officials in London.
Monte Sonnenberg seems to be exempt from intelligence, so that facts don’t get in his way:
This is just another false flag operation by the US.
I am sure I have read a few planted articles like this on
this site before.
You don’t think the US uses all sides of the spectrum
when issuing propaganda?
Just look at the war mongering CIA hack Juan Cole, he loves
war and Obama.
Places like Freetown Christiana in Denmark
Provide the example for us all. Abandon capitalist society, construct our own schools, hospitals, housing and food chain.
Leave capitalist society as hollow and empty as its soul.
f-off nazi troll
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Which Dream Will We Carry? The One Where Scary Anti-Colonialist Black People Play Aggressive Monopoly, Or What?
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From Montgomery to Jerusalem November 15, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Racism.
Tags: antonia house, Civil Rights, egged, freedom riders, human rights, jerusalem, jewish settlements, jewish voice for peace, occupied territories, occupied territory, palestine human rights, ramallah, roger hollander, veolia, west bank
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Six breathtakingly courageous Palestinian
But I’m a Jewish American. I can move about freely. And Fadi
But the struggle is not over! The Freedom
In recent years the brutal reality of the occupation of Palestine has
The first bus drivers— seeing
All the Freedom Riders did
Fadi Quran, one of the arrested freedom riders, is a 23
Obama Throws Palestine Under the Bus September 25, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: aipac, hanan ashrawi, israel, israel lobby, israeli occupation, jewish settlements, jim lobe, netanyahu, obama politics, Palestine, palestine statehood, roger hollander, west bank
Published on Sunday, September 25, 2011 by Inter Press Service
by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON — The right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could not be more pleased.
Not only did the allegedly most “anti-Israel” president ever repeat, for the nth time, that “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable,” but also made crystal clear that Washington will veto any Palestinian application to the U.N. Security Council for statehood in his speech this week to the U.N. General Assembly.
Not once did he refer to Jewish “settlements” on Palestinian lands; nor did he even use the word “occupied” – or any declension of that word – to describe those lands and their people in an address that was largely, if ironically, devoted to celebrating this year’s Arab struggles to end autocratic rule in their region.
Nor was there a word about the plight of the still-besieged population of Gaza, or about the “1967 borders” as being the basis for any eventual two-state solution, a formula to which Netanyahu and his U.S. allies vehemently objected much to the consternation and exasperation of the White House only four months ago.
Indeed, President Barack Hussein Obama, as his right-wing and Islamophobic critics like to call him, said nothing to which even the most right-wing faction of Netanyahu’s government could object.
“I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands,” enthused Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right – some say proto-fascist – Yisrael Beiteinu party, while Netanyahu himself called Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly “a badge of honor”.
“Listening to him, you would think it was the Palestinians who occupy Israel,” Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian stateswoman, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, noting what even the New York Times suggested seemed to be the “hypocritical” nature of Obama’s enthusiasm for Arab democracy movements.
“He presented a double standard when he disassociated the Arabs’ fight for their freedom in the region from the Palestinian freedom fighters, who deal with the occupation for 63 years,” she said.
“What we heard is precisely why we are going to the U.N.,” she added, sounding a theme that has been taken up all week by many Middle East specialists: By siding so ostentatiously with Netanyahu and against the Palestinian bid for statehood, Obama has forfeited Washington’s 20-year exclusivity as broker of the clearly broken “peace process” between the two parties – a point made implicitly by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s call for the General Assembly to upgrade Palestine’s status to a non-member state.
“Witnessing Netanyahu’s stubborn rejectionism and President Obama’s inability to move the ball forward, President Sarkozy appears to be acting on Obama’s prediction last May at AIPAC (the annual meeting of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee) – that … if there is no credible peace process, then others, including Europeans, will lose patience, and pursue alternatives to direct negotiations, including at the U.N.,” according to Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator now based at the New America Foundation here.
Such alternatives will likely become more urgent, he noted, as a result of the “post-Arab Awakening era, one in which Arab democracy will be less tolerant of Palestinian disenfranchisement than Arab autocracy ever was.”
So why did Obama, who, speaking at the same podium exactly one year ago, set a deadline of this week for an agreement on Palestinian statehood, capitulate so abjectly to Netanyahu and the Israeli right?
While his administration’s defenders claim it has everything to do with keeping the “peace process” alive and minimizing the chances of a new round of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, the answer is politics, or, more precisely, the perceived power of the AIPAC-led “Israel Lobby” in an election year.
“Once again, the transformational Obama has been sold out by the political Obama,” wrote David Rothkopf, a national security expert at the Carnegie Endowment, on his foreignpolicy.com blog early in the week.
Given his fading approval ratings and an economy that shows no signs of substantial improvement any time soon, the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill appear increasingly panicked over their re- election prospects in November 2012.
They will do nothing that risks alienating key constituencies, particularly Jewish voters in a couple of key “swing states”, but most especially Jewish donors who account for an estimated between 40 and 50 percent of all contributions to national Democratic campaigns.
Since the beginning of this year, but particularly since Netanyahu’s May visit where he was rapturously received at the AIPAC conference, his Republican – and some Democratic – allies have deliberately and repeatedly promoted the notion that Obama’s alleged pressure on Israel to freeze settlements and take other steps to advance the “peace process” was souring Jews, nearly 80 percent of whom voted for Obama in 2008, on the president and his party.
When, on the eve of this week’s U.N. meeting, a Tea Party Republican, who was endorsed by former Democratic Mayor Edward Koch to protest Obama’s allegedly anti-Israel policies, defeated a Jewish Democrat in a heavily Jewish New York City Congressional district that Democrats had held for nearly 90 years, that meme was transformed into conventional wisdom, thus setting the stage for Obama’s speech – or surrender – this week before the General Assembly.
In fact, however, only seven percent of the mostly Orthodox Jewish voters in that election said Obama’s policies toward Israel affected their vote, according to exit polls.
And, while there has indeed been a substantial erosion in Jewish approval of Obama’s performance, it has not been disproportionate to the loss of confidence in his leadership by the public at large, according to a recent Gallup poll.
That survey, undertaken from Aug. 1 to Sep. 15, found that a 54- percent majority of Jewish respondents still approve of Obama, 13 percentage points higher than his overall 41 percent approval rating, and similar to the average 14-point gap between Jews and the general public seen throughout his term in office.
“It’s really about donors, not about votes, except perhaps in Florida (where Jews make up about five percent of the electorate),” according to M.J. Rosenberg, a veteran Israel analyst at Media Matters who worked for years at AIPAC and on Capitol Hill where AIPAC wields its greatest influence.
“The surrender we’ve been watching lately is all about the money,” he said.
“What AIPAC and other key groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee do successfully is to convince both the White House and Congress that every dollar that comes from someone Jewish is about Israel, when, in fact, most Jewish donors are contributing because of a host of liberal causes they believe in – from social security and gay marriage to the environment,” he told IPS.
“But I’m sure that President Obama believes that his financial support from the Jewish community is heavily contingent on his backing for Netanyahu,” according to Rosenberg. “And right now, everything he does is motivated by his desire for a second term.”
© 2011 Jim Lobe
Jim Lobe has served as Washington DC correspondent and chief of the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service (IPS), an international news agency specializing in coverage of issues and events of interest to developing countries, from 1980 to 1985, and again from 1989 to the present.
A President Who is Helpless in the Face of Middle East Reality September 23, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: gaza, hanan ashrawi, israel palestine, israeli occupation, mahmour abbas, Middle East, netanyahu, obama un speech, Palestine, palestine statehood, robert fisk, roger hollander, settlements, un debate, United Nations, west bank
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Obama’s UN speech insists Israelis and Palestinians are equal parties to conflict
Today should be Mahmoud Abbas’s finest hour. Even The New York Times has discovered that “a grey man of grey suits and sensible shoes, may be slowly emerging from his shadow”.Barack Obama made the ‘preposterous’ suggestion that Palestinians and Israelis were ‘equal’ parties to the conflict. (Reuters)
But this is nonsense. The colourless leader of the Palestinian Authority, who wrote a 600-page book on his people’s conflict with Israel without once mentioning the word “occupation”, should have no trouble this evening in besting Barack Hussein Obama’s pathetic, humiliating UN speech on Wednesday in which he handed US policy in the Middle East over to Israel’s gimmick government.
For the American President who called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, an end to the theft of Arab land in the West Bank – Israeli “settlements” is what he used to call it – and a Palestinian state by 2011, Obama’s performance was pathetic.
As usual, Hanan Ashrawi, the only eloquent Palestinian voice in New York this week, got it right. “I couldn’t believe what I heard,” she told Haaretz, that finest of Israeli newspapers. “It sounded as though the Palestinians were the ones occupying Israel. There wasn’t one word of empathy for the Palestinians. He spoke only of the Israelis’ troubles…” Too true. And as usual, the sanest Israeli journalists, in their outspoken condemnation of Obama, proved that the princes of American journalists were cowards. “The limp, unimaginative speech that US President Barack Obama delivered at the United Nations… reflects how helpless the American President is in the face of Middle East realities,” Yael Sternhell wrote.
And as the days go by, and we discover whether the Palestinians respond to Obama’s grovelling performance with a third intifada or with a shrug of weary recognition that this is how things always were, the facts will continue to prove that the US administration remains a tool of Israel when it comes to Israel’s refusal to give the Palestinians a state.
How come, let’s ask, that the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, flew from Tel Aviv to New York for the statehood debate on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own aircraft? How come Netanyahu was too busy chatting to the Colombian President to listen to Obama’s speech? He only glanced through the Palestinian bit of the text when he was live-time, face to face with the American President. This wasn’t “chutzpah”. This was insult, pure and simple.
And Obama deserved it. After praising the Arab Spring/Summer/ Autumn, whatever – yet again running through the individual acts of courage of Arab Tunisians and Egyptians as if he had been behind the Arab Awakening all along, the man dared to give the Palestinians 10 minutes of his time, slapping them in the face for daring to demand statehood from the UN. Obama even – and this was the funniest part of his preposterous address to the UN – suggested that the Palestinians and Israelis were two equal “parties” to the conflict.
A Martian listening to this speech would think, as Ms Ashrawi suggested, that the Palestinians were occupying Israel rather than the other way round. No mention of Israeli occupation, no mention of refugees, or the right of return or of the theft of Arab Palestinian land by the Israeli government against all international law. But plenty of laments for the besieged people of Israel, rockets fired at their houses, suicide bombs – Palestinian sins, of course, but no reference to the carnage of Gaza, the massive death toll of Palestinians – and even the historical persecution of the Jewish people and the Holocaust.
That persecution is a fact of history. So is the evil of the Holocaust. But THE PALESTINIANS DID NOT COMMIT THESE ACTS. It was the Europeans – whose help in denying Palestinian statehood Obama is now seeking – who committed this crime of crimes. So we were then back to the “equal parties”, as if the Israeli occupiers and the occupied Palestinians were on a level playing ground.
Madeleine Albright used to adopt this awful lie. “It’s up to the parties themselves,” she would say, washing her hands, Pilate-like, of the whole business the moment Israel threatened to call out its supporters in America. Heaven knows if Mahmoud Abbas can produce a 1940 speech at the UN today. But at least we all know who the appeaser is.
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper. He is the author of many books on the region, including The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.
Why the Middle East Will Never Be the Same Again September 20, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: arab awakening, arab spring, Avigdor Lieberman, ehud barak, israel, israel colonies, Mahmoud Abbas, Middle East, netanyahu, oslo agreement, Palestine, palestine statehood, peace process, road map, robert fisk, roger hollander, west bank
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The Palestinians won’t achieve statehood, but they will consign the ‘peace process’ to history.
The Palestinians won’t get a state this week. But they will prove – if they get enough votes in the General Assembly and if Mahmoud Abbas does not succumb to his characteristic grovelling in the face of US-Israeli power – that they are worthy of statehood. And they will establish for the Arabs what Israel likes to call – when it is enlarging its colonies on stolen land – “facts on the ground”: never again can the United States and Israel snap their fingers and expect the Arabs to click their heels. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East. It’s over: the “peace process”, the “road map”, the “Oslo agreement”; the whole fandango is history.
Personally, I think “Palestine” is a fantasy state, impossible to create now that the Israelis have stolen so much of the Arabs’ land for their colonial projects. Go take a look at the West Bank, if you don’t believe me. Israel’s massive Jewish colonies, its pernicious building restrictions on Palestinian homes of more than one storey and its closure even of sewage systems as punishment, the “cordons sanitaires” beside the Jordanian frontier, the Israeli-only settlers’ roads have turned the map of the West Bank into the smashed windscreen of a crashed car. Sometimes, I suspect that the only thing that prevents the existence of “Greater Israel” is the obstinacy of those pesky Palestinians.
But we are now talking of much greater matters. This vote at the UN – General Assembly or Security Council, in one sense it hardly matters – is going to divide the West – Americans from Europeans and scores of other nations – and it is going to divide the Arabs from the Americans. It is going to crack open the divisions in the European Union; between eastern and western Europeans, between Germany and France (the former supporting Israel for all the usual historical reasons, the latter sickened by the suffering of the Palestinians) and, of course, between Israel and the EU.
A great anger has been created in the world by decades of Israeli power and military brutality and colonisation; millions of Europeans, while conscious of their own historical responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust and well aware of the violence of Muslim nations, are no longer cowed in their criticism for fear of being abused as anti-Semites. There is racism in the West – and always will be, I fear – against Muslims and Africans, as well as Jews. But what are the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, in which no Arab Muslim Palestinian can live, but an expression of racism?
Israel shares in this tragedy, of course. Its insane government has led its people on this road to perdition, adequately summed up by its sullen fear of democracy in Tunisia and Egypt – how typical that its principle ally in this nonsense should be the awful Saudi Arabia – and its cruel refusal to apologise for the killing of nine Turks in the Gaza flotilla last year and its equal refusal to apologise to Egypt for the killing of five of its policemen during a Palestinian incursion into Israel.
So goodbye to its only regional allies, Turkey and Egypt, in the space of scarcely 12 months. Israel’s cabinet is composed both of intelligent, potentially balanced people such as Ehud Barak, and fools such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Ahmadinejad of Israeli politics. Sarcasm aside, Israelis deserve better than this.
The State of Israel may have been created unjustly – the Palestinian Diaspora is proof of this – but it was created legally. And its founders were perfectly capable of doing a deal with King Abdullah of Jordan after the 1948-49 war to divide Palestine between Jews and Arabs. But it had been the UN, which met to decide the fate of Palestine on 29 November 1947, which gave Israel its legitimacy, the Americans being the first to vote for its creation. Now – by a supreme irony of history – it is Israel which wishes to prevent the UN from giving Palestinian Arabs their legitimacy – and it is America which will be the first to veto such a legitimacy.
Does Israel have a right to exist? The question is a tired trap, regularly and stupidly trotted out by Israel’s so-called supporters; to me, too, on regular though increasingly fewer occasions. States – not humans – give other states the right to exist. For individuals to do so, they have to see a map. For where exactly, geographically, is Israel? It is the only nation on earth which does not know and will not declare where its eastern frontier is. Is it the old UN armistice line, the 1967 border so beloved of Abbas and so hated by Netanyahu, or the Palestinian West Bank minus settlements, or the whole of the West Bank?
Show me a map of the United Kingdom which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it has the right to exist. But show me a map of the UK which claims to include the 26 counties of independent Ireland in the UK and shows Dublin to be a British rather than an Irish city, and I will say no, this nation does not have the right to exist within these expanded frontiers. Which is why, in the case of Israel, almost every Western embassy, including the US and British embassies, are in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem.
In the new Middle East, amid the Arab Awakening and the revolt of free peoples for dignity and freedom, this UN vote – passed in the General Assembly, vetoed by America if it goes to the Security Council – constitutes a kind of hinge; not just a page turning, but the failure of empire. So locked into Israel has US foreign policy become, so fearful of Israel have almost all its Congressmen and Congresswomen become – to the extent of loving Israel more than America – that America will this week stand out not as the nation that produced Woodrow Wilson and his 14 principles of self-determination, not as the country which fought Nazism and Fascism and Japanese militarism, not as the beacon of freedom which, we are told, its Founding Fathers represented – but as a curmudgeonly, selfish, frightened state whose President, after promising a new affection for the Muslim world, is forced to support an occupying power against a people who only ask for statehood.
Should we say “poor old Obama”, as I have done in the past? I don’t think so. Big on rhetoric, vain, handing out false love in Istanbul and Cairo within months of his election, he will this week prove that his re-election is more important than the future of the Middle East, that his personal ambition to stay in power must take first place over the sufferings of an occupied people. In this context alone, it is bizarre that a man of such supposed high principle should show himself so cowardly. In the new Middle East, in which Arabs are claiming the very same rights and freedoms that Israel and America say they champion, this is a profound tragedy.
US failures to stand up to Israel and to insist on a fair peace in “Palestine”, abetted by the hero of the Iraq war, Blair, are responsible. Arabs too, for allowing their dictators to last so long and thus to clog the sand with false frontiers and old dogmas and oil (and let’s not believe that a “new” “Palestine” would be a paradise for its own people). Israel, too, when it should be welcoming the Palestinian demand for statehood at the UN with all its obligations of security and peace and recognition of other UN members. But no. The game is lost. America’s political power in the Middle East will this week be neutered on behalf of Israel. Quite a sacrifice in the name of liberty…
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper. He is the author of many books on the region, including The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.
Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Dashes Palestinian Hopes of a Just Mideast Peace Agreement May 25, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: 1967 borders, amy goodman, democracynow, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, gaza, israel, israel apartheid, israel settlements, Middle East, netanyahu, Palestine, palestinian state, Palestinians, two-state solution, west bank
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The future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remains in doubt after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address Tuesday before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are “indefensible.” He also said Israel must “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River” and condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps. We speak with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. “Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution,” Barghouti says. “Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue… He wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation.”
AMY GOODMAN: The future of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians remain in doubt following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address on Tuesday before a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are “indefensible.”
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv. Now these areas are densely populated, but they’re geographically quite small. And under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical, strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu also said Israel must, quote, “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River,” and he condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps.
Joining us now in Washington, D.C., is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. He’s the president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Your response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in this joint address before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Barghouti?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, First of all, let me say that what Mr. Netanyahu did yesterday was a presentation of—or actually, misrepresentation of the facts, a lot of lies. Obviously he believes that if he lies a lot and continues to lie, the lies become facts. He was falsifying history and falsifying facts and misleading people in the United States. When he said that Israel is too small, all he needed to say is to compare it with Palestine. I mean, what we are calling for here in two-state solution is a situation where Israel will be four times the size of Palestine, and still he speaks about it as if it’s a small country, but—and then comparing it with the United States.
In my opinion, Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution. Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally—he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue—on the issue of Jerusalem, on the issue of borders, on the issue of settlements. And practically, his plan is clear: he wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation, he wants to continue the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, and he wants to block any possibility for a Palestinian statehood or Palestinian freedom.
More than that, I think some of what he said sounded totally delusional. When he spoke about the fact that the only place where Arabs can enjoy freedom and democracy is when they are ruled by Israel, I think this is something like saying that the place where women’s rights are most respected is Afghanistan. It’s totally delusional. He fails to see the fact that his country is practicing apartheid and segregation against the Palestinian population. He failed to see the fact that they have taken away the homes, the lands of the people who live under Israeli control and that Israel is practicing the worst form of violence against peaceful, nonviolent resistance that Palestinians are adopting today in trying to defend their rights for freedom and for dignity.
What is most shameful, in my opinion, really, was the response of the Congress to what Mr. Netanyahu said. In my opinion, the fact that he got 29 standing ovations and so many applause by the Congress people reflects an act of irresponsibility by the Congress, because by supporting such extremists, like Netanyahu, in this manner, by supporting such extreme positions by this Israeli government, which is nothing but a government of settlers that is falsifying history and reality, by doing so, they are practically supporting an act that is aiming at killing any possibility of peace. And that is irresponsible, not only towards Palestinians, not only towards peace; it’s an act of irresponsibility towards even the future of Israelis themselves, because the plan that Netanyahu proposed is nothing but a plan to assassinate and kill any opportunity for peace based on two-state solution. It’s a plan of enslavement of Palestinians. And we, as Palestinians, will never be accepting to be slaves of occupation or apartheid or the system of occupation that Mr. Netanyahu wants to consolidate on the ground.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, I wanted to ask you about the comments that President Obama made last Thursday when he became the first U.S. president to explicitly call for Israelis and Palestinians to seek a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. This is what he said.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous state.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, your response to President Obama?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, unfortunately, I think Mr. Obama, President Obama, retreated from any of his comments in his speech in front of the AIPAC. And because he got criticized for identifying ’67 borders as the borders between Palestinian state, future state, and Israel, because of that criticism, he went further to describe what swaps mean. And according to him, swaps should take into consideration demographic realities, new demographic realities. But these demographic realities that he speaks about are about settlers, and these settlers are violating international law. And any presence of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory is in violation of international law, in violation of the International Court of Justice resolutions, and as such, could not be considered as facts that should be accepted.
The problem with the issue of swaps is that they could mean taking away any possibility for the viability of the Palestinian state, not only because of the size of these areas that would be swapped, but also because these areas include at least 85 percent of the water resources that Palestinians need in the West Bank. They take away water resources. These settlements blocs, if they are annexed to Israel, will definitely destroy the contiguity of territory in the Palestinian state, and they would destroy any possibility of the viability of the states. That’s why I think what President Obama said in his speech in the State Department is contradictive to what he said in front of the conference of AIPAC.
And when Mr. Netanyahu comes up with the plan he proposed, explaining that the Israeli army must remain on the borders, and then explaining that Jerusalem will never be divided again, and explaining that Israel will have to annex all these settlements, then practically we are not talking about a viable Palestinian contiguous state, but about a structure that would be nothing but clusters of bantustans, disconnected from each other and under a system of apartheid controlled by Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: The Israelis are calling it a state, but that means nothing because it has nothing that makes it a real state. It’s just clusters of bantustans. This is the plan that Netanyahu has, and the American president failed to pressure him to change this plan.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the significance of the Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell, quitting?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I believe now, in retrospect, when we see what has happened after his resignation, I think he has resigned because he failed. And he realized that his opinion was not taken into consideration, obviously, especially on issues like settlements. And I feel sorry for him, because he had done a good job with Ireland. Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, he failed to pressure Israel. Maybe he did not have the support from his own administration to exercise any form of pressure on Israel. Especially that now, when we see this conflict growing, nobody is telling Israel at least stop the building of settlements on the ground, at least stop the facts on the ground. And that’s why I consider that Mr. Mitchell’s resignation is just a reflection of the fact that his mission failed, and probably that his views were not taken into consideration, and that the Israeli lobby is practically imposing the American policy in the Middle East. And that is something very dangerous. Again, I say this is something irresponsible, irresponsible in terms of the future of both Palestinians and Israelis, and irresponsible policy in terms of the future of stability in the Middle East.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, you were in Cairo, with the coming together of Hamas and Fatah. The U.S. has criticized any group that would ally with Hamas. Your response to that, and the significance of this, how you see this fitting into the destiny of Palestine?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It is totally un-understandable why they are criticizing the unity agreement between Palestinians. We’ve managed to convince Hamas to accept two-state solution, to accept the compromise of two-state solution. We’ve managed to convince Hamas to abstain from any form of violence and to abstain from any form of military actions and to stick totally with all of us to nonviolent form of resistance. We managed to convince Hamas to authorize President Abbas to represent all Palestinians. Isn’t that what they wanted? If we have managed to convince everybody to adopt nonviolence as a form of struggle for Palestinians, and if we managed to have a unified Palestinian camp that agrees and accepts two-state solution, then why this agreement is rejected?
Let me remind you that Mr. Netanyahu and his government has been saying that they cannot make a deal with President Abbas or move forward with negotiations, because President Abbas could not represent all Palestinians since he could not control Hamas or could not control Gaza. Now, President Abbas is allowed to represent all Palestinians, and Netanyahu is responding by saying, “You have to break up with Hamas, or we will not talk to you.” What does that mean? He’s playing games here. This man is an expert in lying. This man is an expert in falsification. This man, Netanyahu, is an expert in misrepresenting facts.
AMY GOODMAN: Prime Minister Netanyahu, he has—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: And I am so sorry that people don’t see that.
AMY GOODMAN: He has been interviewed repeatedly on the networks in the United States, and he has repeatedly said, “We accept a Palestinian state. They do not accept a Jewish state. That is the problem,” he said. “How do you negotiate with these people?” What is your response to that?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That’s another big lie, because the problem with the Oslo agreement has been that the Palestinians, represented by the PLO, recognized Israel as a state. They recognized Israel. Israel did not recognize Palestine as a state. Up ’til now, Israel is not recognizing Palestine as a state, because what does it mean to say, “I accept you as a state, but I don’t accept that you have borders, and I don’t accept that you have a capital, and I don’t accept that you have free trade, and I don’t accept that you have free economy”? This is just a false representation of reality. In reality, Palestinians have accepted Israel and have recognized Israel, and in exchange, all Israel did was to recognize PLO as a representative of Palestinians rather than recognizing the Palestinian state as such. If Mr. Netanyahu wants really to recognize the state, he should declare tomorrow that he agrees with what President Obama said, which is that we will have two-state solution on the basis of ’67 borders.
AMY GOODMAN: He said—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That, he negated.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu said—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That, he is refusing.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu said, “It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’”
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, Mr. Abbas has said repeatedly that he is recognizing Israel. And if we—if Israel is recognized as a Jewish state, then what happens to the one-and-a-half million Palestinians that Netanyahu is claiming have equal rights in Israel? They are not Jewish. This state should be democratic. A democratic state should fulfill the needs of all its people. Do you think—what would happen if somebody comes out and says the United States should be declared as a Catholic state or as a Protestant state? What will happen to the Jewish community in the United States then? In my opinion, each country should be recognized as a democratic state, which means all its citizens have equal rights. And that does not negate the needs of the Jewish population. That does not negate the history of the Jewish people and their suffering. On the contrary. If you want them to last in a good state, that state should be democratic and not based on discrimination and racist differentiation between people, as is the situation today in Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re saying that you accept—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: In Israel today, you have apartheid discrimination against Arabs in Israel who are citizens of Israel. You have another level of discrimination against Palestinians living in Jerusalem, in East Jerusalem, where a Palestinian will not be allowed to marry a woman from a nearby city or village and live with her, because if he moves to live with her, he will lose his citizenship, and he would not be allowed to bring her into Jerusalem because he cannot give her citizenship. That’s a system of racial discrimination.
AMY GOODMAN: So—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: And there is a third level of apartheid which exists in the West Bank and Gaza. Yes, please?
AMY GOODMAN: So, Dr. Barghouti, you’re saying you accept Israel as a state, but not as a Jewish state?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I am saying that pushing the issue of Jewishness of the state of Israel today is one way of putting the Palestinians again on the defense, while their state is not recognized. What is missing today is not Israel as a state. Israel is already a state. It is already a member of the United Nations. Israel now is the third largest military exporter in the world. It has the fifth largest army in the world. It has 400 nuclear weapons. It is not threatened. The people who are threatened are the Palestinians who are under occupation for 44 years, who have been dispossessed from their land since 63 years, and who don’t have freedom, don’t have democracy, and don’t have self-determination. The country that needs to be recognized today is Palestine. And Netanyahu is doing everything he can to obstruct us from going to the United Nations to ask for implementation of the same resolution that was taken in 1947 that gave Israel its legitimacy and said there should be a Palestinian, which never materialized. He is trying to block that. So, practically, the country, the state that needs to be recognized today is Palestine, because Israel is already recognized.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, I want to thank you for being with us. Dr. Barghouti, speaking to us from Washington, D.C.