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NOVANEWS


Abunimah says without Hamas talks are pointless
 29 Aug 2010

Ali Abunimah in the New York Times – what, a Palestinian in the Times, get rid of him immediately! – on America’s apparent determination to fail at upcoming “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:

George J. Mitchell, the United States Middle East envoy, tried to counter low expectations for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by harking back to his experience as a mediator in Northern Ireland.
At an Aug. 20 news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announcing the talks that will begin this week, Mr. Mitchell reminded journalists that during difficult negotiations in Northern Ireland, “We had about 700 days of failure and one day of success” — the day in 1998 that the Belfast Agreement instituting power-sharing between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists was signed.
Mr. Mitchell’s comparison is misleading at best. Success in the Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy.
The conflict in Northern Ireland had been intractable for decades. Unionists backed by the British government saw any political compromise with Irish nationalists as a danger, one that would lead to a united Ireland in which a Catholic majority would dominate minority Protestant unionists. The British government also refused to deal with the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, despite its significant electoral mandate, because of its close ties to the Irish Republican Army, which had carried out violent acts in the United Kingdom.
A parallel can be seen with the American refusal to speak to the Palestinian party Hamas, which decisively won elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006. Asked what role Hamas would have in the renewed talks, Mr. Mitchell answered with one word: “None.” No serious analyst believes that peace can be made between Palestinians and Israelis without Hamas on board, any more than could have been the case in Northern Ireland without Sinn Fein and the I.R.A.
The United States insists that Hamas meet strict preconditions before it can take part in negotiations: recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by agreements previously signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Hamas is not a member. These demands are unworkable. Why should Hamas or any Palestinian accept Israel’s political demands, like recognition, when Israel refuses to recognize basic Palestinian demands like the right of return for refugees?
As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?

 

Not trusting Bibi over anything
 28 Aug 2010

Israeli pop star Ninette satirises Netanyahu’s inability to hold a position on the conflict with the Palestinians:
 
Rabbinic court lashes singer
 28 Aug 2010

If Muslims stone women the world reacts in horror. And yet when fundamentalist Jews behave similarly, silence:

A singer who performed in front of a “mixed audience” of men and women was lashed 39 times to make him “repent,” after a ruling by a self-described rabbinic court on Wednesday.
Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, founder of the Shofar organization aimed at bringing Jews “back to religion” (hazara betshuva), has made it his recent mission to fight against musical performances for both men and women.
His “judicial panel,” with Rabbi Ben Zion Mutsafi and another member, sentenced Erez Yechiel to 39 lashes in order to “rid him of his sins.”   
In a video clip of the court posted on the Shofar Web site, Ben Zion said that those who make others sin (mahtiei rabim), such as artists who make men and women attend performances or dance together, have no place in the world to come.
He displayed a leather strip he said was made by his father from ass and bull skin, with which Yechiel was to have been whipped.
Yechiel, who said, “I accept upon myself the lashing for my sins,” was ordered to stand by a wooden poll with his head facing north (“from whence the evil inclination comes”), his hands tied with a azure-colored rope (“a symbol of mercy”), and served his “sentence.”

 

More wars and Glenn Beck do not equal respect or honour
 28 Aug 2010

Because Fox News, Glenn Beck, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and God are what America needs to “restore honour“: 

When advertising gets inspired by US torture
 28 Aug 2010

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