Mondoweiss Online Newsletter



‘NYT’ editors briefly flagellate themselves for their role in fomenting Iraq war– then move on!

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

My wife’s in a bad mood tonight. She says part of the reason is she heard Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, and his named successor, Jill Abramson, talking about the Iraq war today on NPR’s “On the Media.”

Set the scene. My wife had just been driving around our small town. She ran into people who aren’t doing well. A yoga instructor about to declare bankruptcy. A friend out of work for a year, another friend about to lose her house. Then back into the NPRmobile yes of course a Subaru and she heard the Times’s two top editors talking about Iraq. Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” asked Bill Keller about the May 2004 editor’s letter apologizing, but oh so properly, for the Times coverage that had paved the way for the war in Iraq.

Keller [solemnus voce]: I think both Jill and I would probably put that at the top of our list of things we wish we’d done differently, that is to say, things that we wish we’d done sooner. I think it would have been wiser and healthier for the paper and its credibility if I’d taken that bull by the horns first thing and said, you know what, we screwed up here, and the way we screwed up was we fell too hard for the conventional wisdom about Saddam Hussein and we let some of the reporting run a little wild.

Abramson: I completely agree.

My wife was enraged. She said, We’re in three wars right now, and no one knows what they’re about, and This is all the Times editors give us by way of apology.

They supported the war, I said. Keller did. Should they step down? Nick Lemann (dean of the Columbia School of Journalism) spoke at Columbia a couple of years ago and said that of all the people writing at the New Yorker in 2003, he was the only one to oppose the Iraq war

Yes. So it’s institutionalized, she said.

Makes me want to hurl. Makes you want to hurl, right? And it’s the moral hazard: when the elite are so removed from the actual consequences of a decision to go to war, that it’s an idle decision to them whether an Arab society is destroyed and millions displaced and 100,000 or more killed. What are the actual consequences to them? Well if there was a draft, if their kids were actually at some risk of going– no, no chance of that.

Just a chance that: Our correction of our fucked-up Judy Miller coverage came a little too late. Sorry about that.

(Yes and why did she produce that coverage? Where did it come from?)

P.S. After Larry Eagleburger died the other day, they had Leslie Gelb formerly of the Times now of the Council on Foreign Relations eulogizing him on NPR, and Gelb said that Eagleburger had been brave to oppose the Iraq war in the face of all the establishment pressure to support it. But this is precisely why Gelb supported the war, out of careerist instinct. And that is why I support the draft. So the decision-makers have something at risk.

Unarmed protesters scramble to rescue the wounded at fence in the occupied Golan

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

Thanks to Ali Abunimah for posting this amazing video (and Kate for grabbing it):

Reports say Israel killed 20 protesters today at fence of occupied Golan

Jun 05, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Naksa Day

’14 dead’ as Israel opens fire on Golan

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (AFP) 5 June 20:18 — Israeli troops opened fire on Sunday as protesters from Syria stormed a ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights, with Damascus saying 14 demonstrators were killed. Hundreds of protesters rushed towards the ceasefire line, cutting through barbed wire as they tried to enter the occupied Golan Heights in a repeat of demonstrations last month that saw thousands mass along the line separating Israeli-controlled territory from Syria … In Majdal Shams, Israeli troops opened fire as demonstrators sought to push through the mined ceasefire line, which had been reinforced with several rows of barbed wire blocking access to a fence since the 15 May demonstration … Updating an earlier toll, Syrian state media reported that 14 people were killed, including a woman and child, and more than 220 wounded. The Israeli military said it was aware of 12 casualties. The Israeli military also said that a person was wounded when at least one landmine exploded on Syria’s side of the heights … Elsewhere, around 100 people demonstrated in central Hebron in the southern West Bank, while dozens of protesters tried to march from the northern West Bank village of Deir Al-Hatab to the nearby Elon Moreh settlement. In Gaza, Hamas police arrested around a dozen protesters who broke away from a rally at the northern town of Beit Hanoun, and tried to march to the Erez border crossing with Israel.
VIDEO: Syrian death toll climbs: Majdal Shams joins riots
Ynet 5 May 21:03 — Golan Heights residents have joined ‘Naksa Day’ riots on Sunday after hours of clashes. Majdal Shams residents began hurling concrete blocks at security forces after gas grenades were used to drive away Syrian protesters approaching the border. IDF and police forces responded by using gas grenades against the Druze village residents. Meanwhile, Syrian state TV says at least 20 people have been killed and 325 others wounded by Israeli gunfire along the border.,7340,L-4078644,00.html
Report: Up to 20 protesters killed as hundreds of Syrians storm Israel border
[9 photos] Haaretz/Reuters 5 June 18:58 — Four mines reportedly exploded near Syrian town of Quneitra, injuring many of the hundreds of protesters who gathered on Israeli border to mark 44 years since beginning of 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli left-wing leader: IDF used excessive force in Naksa Day protests
Haaretz 5 June 14:29 — Uri Avneri, former MK and activist with the Gush Shalom left-wing organization, said Sunday that the IDF used excessive force against the protesters in the Golan Heights. “The trigger-happy behavior stands out in particular when compared to the softness with which violent settlers are treated,” he said.  Avneri conceded that a country has a right to defend its borders and prevent illegal entrance to its territory, yet added that “in order to effectively protect its borders, the state should first know where its borders are and have them recognized by the international community – and this is a decision which Israel has been avoiding for years.”

Hundreds of Palestinians clash with IDF in West Bank Naksa Day protests
Haaretz 5 June 20:04 — IDF soldiers fire tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in Druze village of Majdal Shams, where demonstrations were held marking 44 years since onset of Six-Day War … Elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians were reportedly demonstrating in the Baka al-Sharkiyeh across the border from the Israeli Arab town of Baka al-Garbiyeh …Demonstrators gathered at a gas station near the village of Isawiyah in East Jerusalem early Sunday, hurling rocks at the security forces. One police officer was injured and at least 13 protesters were arrested during those clashes, some of them with the aid of a helicopter team. Palestinians demonstrating near Mount Scopus in Jerusalem hurled firebombs at the back of the Hadassah University Hospital. No one was wounded in the incident and there were no reports of damage.
Israel quashes protest at Qalandiya checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 June 19:02 — An estimated 300 Palestinians gathered at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem were met with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets on Sunday, as they marked the 44th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. “To Jerusalem we go,” read signs held by protesters, who marched to the checkpoint separating the central West Bank from Jerusalem, located on the route of the separation wall, built some 5 kilometers on the Palestinian side of the 1967 border … At least two protesters were seriously injured, and at least 37 were treated in ambulances for tear-gas inhalation, medics said. A medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that 10 had been evacuated by ambulance, saying several had been hit by rubber-coated bullets.
In the northern Gaza Strip, demonstrators marched from Beit Hanoun toward the Erez crossing, but Hamas police erected checkpoints to stop protesters reaching Israel’s border. Tens of demonstrators who tried to break away and march north clashed with Hamas police, who detained at least a dozen.
90 Palestinians injured by Israeli soldiers in Qalandia
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 June 17:48 — 90 Palestinians, protesting in commemoration of the 44th anniversary of the Naksa day; the June 5, 1967 war, Sunday were injured during confrontations with Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint, according to witnesses.  Israeli soldiers’ attempts to storm the Qalandia refugee camp were foiled by Palestinians who throw stones, empty glass bottles and sharp objects at the soldiers, forcing them to retreat toward their military borders. Confrontations are continuing widely in that area until now. Activists of al Aqsa ambulance committee said that soldiers are firing a new kind of toxic tear gas bombs; causing fainting, losing control of limbs and eye burns of various degrees. These bombs have a stronger impact than the ones usually used by Israeli soldiers in similar confrontations. Soldiers also used vehicles carrying contaminated water with foul odors and colors. Doctors explained that these products are really harmful; they pollute the environment as well as they require an immediate cleansing of streets and washing the affected person with medical disinfectants, lest of getting poisoned
Israeli soldiers stop march commemorating Naksa Day in Bethlehem
BETHELEHM (WAFA) 5 June 14:27 — Israeli soldiers Sunday surrounded and prevented a Palestinian march commemorating the 44th anniversary of the Naksa day; the June 5, 1967 war, in Al Walaja, a village west of Bethlehem. Chairman of the village’s council, Salih Khalifa, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers prevented the march from moving forward to reach the confiscated Ein Jweza, an  area in Bethlehem, through severely beating Palestinian protesters while firing tear gas bombs, causing several suffocation cases. He added that dozens of Israeli soldiers are also surrounding protesters near Der Cremisan, an area north of Bethlehem.
Palestinians in Lebanon commemorate Naksa Day
REFUGEE CAMPS (WAFA) 5 June 16:32 — Palestinian refugees in Lebanon Sunday commemorated the 44th anniversary of  the June 5, 1967 war, which Palestinians refer to as Naksa Day. Palestinian Popular committees and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions in Ein El-Helwa, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, organized a public rally in front of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) office. Palestinian and Lebanese officials and representatives of political factions participated in the rally, along with residents of Ein El-Helwa  and Mieh Mieh refugee camps.
Gaza – under siege for 1,453 days now
Palestinians close Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Palestinian officials closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the terminal’s director Ayyoub Abu Sha‘ar said. Closed out of frustration, Abu Sha‘ar said the Egyptian authority’s ‘mechanism’ at the terminal was unclear, citing Egypt’s decision to close the crossing on Saturday without coordinating with Palestinian officials. He said said operations had been halted after disagreements about capacity and coordination, and would not resume until officials on both sides came to an agreement on its operation.
Gazan dies of wounds sustained in 2006
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian was pronounced dead in an Egyptian hospital on Saturday, with doctors telling Ma‘an he died of wounds sustained by Israeli fire during the 2006 incursion. Mohammad Nabil Abu A‘qel was shot in the chest during the summer of 2006 and suffered severe internal bleeding and lung problems, with the bullet penetrating into the central tissue of the lung, doctors explained …
Following the capture of an Israeli soldier in June 2006, Israeli forces waged an offensive on the coastal enclave, named Operation Summer Rains, in an attempt to pressure the captors of the soldier to release him to his family. More than a month of air and artillery strikes saw the power station hit repeatedly, cutting electricity to the the central Strip. More than 400 were killed and estimates put the injured over 1,000.
Israel allows limited goods into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli authorities will allow limited deliveries of goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip on Sunday through the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing, Palestinian officials said.
Israel to close Karem Abu Salem crossing for 2 days
Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph) 5 June — Israeli authorities announced today to close Karem Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the Jewish holidays …Karem Abu Salem crossing is currently the only point for Gazans to transfer their goods, especially after Israeli decision to close permanently Al-Montar [Karni] crossing which was dedicated for the import of fuel and feed. [Which holidays this time? Has there ever been a society with more holidays? Bad luck for the Palestinians]
Gazans stage sit-in demanding entry of Malaysian aid consignment
GAZA, (PIC) 5 June — Tens of Palestinians staged a sit-in in Wadi Gaza on Saturday asking the Egyptian authorities to allow entry of a shipment of Malaysian aid to the Gaza Strip. They distributed a statement during the sit-in asking Cairo to allow the Malaysian ship anchoring at El-Arish to offload its shipment that is sent to build a sewage network in Wadi Gaza area, which is populated by 50,000 people.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Ministry of Interior denies Jerusalem ID to newborn baby
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 June — Local mother Reham Nabil Abbassi is fighting for the right of new newborn baby Noor to gain her official Jerusalem residency. Noor was born on 17 November 2010, five months in to the father’s 10 year prison sentence. And while Noor was issued with a birth certificate in hospital, the Ministry of Interior has thus far refused to issue her with her Jerusalem ID number. Reham, 21, waited the legal limit of 20 days for an ID card to be issued for her daughter. 4 months later she finally received word from the Ministry of Interior that only a son has the right to inherit Jerusalem residency from Noor’s father — as Reham herself holds Palestinian identification (a green ID card) as opposed to Noor’s father’s Jerusalem (blue) identification. Said Reham: “Noor’s father is sentenced to 10 years, and he cannot commence legal proceedings on Noor’s behalf until his release. This will affect everythin in her life — she won’t even be able to come to prison with me to visit her father, if she has no ID card. She will not be able to move through the city or even access her right to education in Jerusalem.”
Israeli forces kidnap three Palestinian children in Silwan
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 June — Three Palestinian children Sunday were kidnapped by an Israeli special force in Wadi al-Rababa, an area in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, witnesses said. The children have not been identified yet. Meanwhile, several units of undercover Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinians are trying to arrest protesters in several areas in Silwan. In addition, Israel soldiers fired sound and toxic tear gas bombs at protesters who responded by throwing stones and empty glass bottles.
Bir Ayyub resident to be detained 6 months before sentencing
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 June — Mohammed Odeh, a Bir Ayyub man arrested by Israeli forces last week was ordered by the Israeli Magistrates Court today to be detained a further six months to await sentencing. Odeh faces charges laid by state prosecution – charges that are clearly fabricated and reveal the collusion between the Israeli state and judiciary. The father of three was arrested by Israeli forces while returning from a shopping trip in Bir Ayyub district of Silwan. Odeh, 36, was accosted by an Israeli patrol jeep while carrying a bag of tomatoes home. Odeh has been targeted by Israeli authorities in the past in an attempt to recruit him as a collaborator, but Odeh strenuously resisted.
2,500 Israeli youth march through Nablus district
AIC 5 June — More than 2,500 Israeli youth from settlement schools throughout the northern West Bank marched on Thursday 2 June through the Nablus District. The march, conducted under the title “Decade and Back”, was conducted under the auspices of the Israeli education system and marked the “year of Joseph’s Tomb” in the Israeli West Bank settlement schools … Although this area is ostensibly under full control of the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli settlers and army did not request permission to enter or even coordinate with PA officials. Many of the settlers screamed racist slogans from the rooftop of the tomb while others entered Nablus itself, attacking local homes. Addressing the children at the conclusion of the march, Samaria Municipal Council Head Gershon Mesika said that “In the march we all saw this beautiful area of ours and how much open space there is to establish more flourishing communities…throughout Samaria. With God’s help we can return to Joseph’s Tomb.”
Urgent: Funding needed for JVS solidarity schools.
Jordan Valley Solidarity 5 June — The funding has come to an end to run the JVS’ solidarity schools. We currently have three solidarity tent school projects in Ein Il Hilwe, Ras Al Awja and Meqhoul with over 100 kids and 10 teachers. The schools were forced to take their summer leaves early due to lack of funds. We are now unable to pay for the teachers expenses. These schools were built and run by volunteers and most of the resources are donations … To know more about our Solidarity schools click here: For the last six years Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) have been working with local communities to challenge the control that Israeli military commanders have over their children’s education.

Settling into humiliation / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
JERUSALEM (IPS) 5 June — For 61-year-old Abd al-Rahim Bisharat, life in the Bedouin community of al- Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley is anything but easy. “The problem is not only poverty, but the degree of how (the Israelis) treat us as humans, our rights as humans,” Bisharat told IPS over the phone from his home, with the sound of roosters crowing in the background … The most troubling aspect of daily life, however, involves Israeli settlers and the Israeli soldiers and police that protect them, he said. “”As we know, the police all around the world is the body that protects the law, but here, the settlers, all they have to do is to call the police when they want to attack one of us,” Bisharat said. “The settler only has to make a phone call and then do nothing but stand there and watch the humiliation of the Palestinian, while the police and the military are beating the Palestinian up. All of our trouble comes from the settler.”
Jewish settlers destroy vineyard in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (WAFA) 4 June — Jewish settlers from Bay Ayin settlement, which is constructed on Palestinian land belonging to Beit Ummar, a village north of Hebron, Saturday destroyed a vineyard in the village, according to a local activist. Muhammad Awad, member of the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said settlers regularly damage crops and uproot trees in the area with a goal to force Palestinian farmers to leave their land as a prelude to seizing it.
Detention / Court action
Report: Israel arrests 370 Palestinians in May 2011
GAZA, (PIC) 5 June — A report prepared by Gaza’s prisoner affairs ministry says 370 Palestinians were arrested during raids in the Palestinian territories in May 2011. Those arrested include 40 minors, five women, two Palestinian Legislative Council members, and 20 foreign pro-Palestinian activists. Al-Khalil city in southern West Bank was a main focus for arrests, with 75 of its locals nabbed.
West Bank court indicts Palestinian teens for murder of Fogel family
Haaretz 5 June — Two Palestinians charged with the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar were indicted in a West Bank military court on Sunday. The suspects, Amjad Awad,19, and Hakim Awad, 18, confessed to the murder and the military prosecution in the case say there is forensic evidence linking them to the scene of the crime, including DNA samples and fingerprints …According to the indictment, the murder was premeditated, with the suspects observing the settlement from their nearby village of Awarta in order to obtain details about the security system at Itamar. They obtained four knives for the purpose of carrying out the attack. Before leaving to carry out the murder, the suspects reportedly photographed themselves in the manner that terrorists do before carrying out a terror attack.
Israeli investigators used ‘spinning cell’ to elicit confession
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 June — Israeli authorities used plastic cells that resemble a mixing device to force confessions out of detainees, the popular movement to support the prisoners and Palestinian rights has revealed. It said that Fatima Younis Hassan al-Zeq was tortured with one of these devices when apprehended at the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip on 20 May 2007. She said the cell spun violently for more than a quarter of an hour and stopped repeatedly for hours as the officer — who she couldn’t see because she was in a squatting position — yelled.
Bardawil: Nothing new in exchange deal
GAZA (PIC) 5 June — Hamas leader Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil has denied any new progress in the prisoners’ exchange deal between his movement and Israel, describing press reports in this regard as “media speculations”.
Racism / Discrimination
‘More Israeli Arabs would have been killed in 2000 riots had I been in charge’
Haaretz 5 June — The mayor of Upper Nazareth told a Nazareth-based Arabic newspaper that his town will never be a mixed Arab-Jewish city, despite the fact that 16 percent of its residents are Arab. In an interview on Friday, Mayor Shimon Gapso also told the weekly Kul al-Arab that a mosque would never be built in Upper Nazareth.
WAFA monitors incitement and racism in Israeli media, May 20-26
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 June — … ‘Yated Neeman’ religious newspaper published a report by Hvroni under the title “Arab Residents of Israel are Thieves and Murderers,” in which he discussed Palestinians’ history in Israel … Israeli right-wing activist, Moshe Feiglin, published a letter addressing Obama on ‘NRG’ website, after his last speech on the latest developments in the Middle East; in which he claimed that there were no Palestinians in Israel before. “Every Muslim and Christian knows that this land belongs to Jews only!” he said … Israeli journalist, Jay Bakhoor, instigated against Palestinians and held them responsible for their Nakba, in his article published in ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’. He called on the Israeli government to warn the Palestinians from doing any violent action against them. He said, “Every violent action they start, ends with an Arab Nakba! No one caused the Nakba, they did. All who wish to start a new violent wave must know that there will no longer be any Palestinian Authority or Hamas leadership. In addition, Palestinians, as usual, will fall back half a century.” … ‘Makor Rishon’ newspaper published an instigating article by Rabbi, Shlomo Avniri, in which he incited to expel Arab residents of East Jerusalem and place Jews instead. He said, “It is time to fully return to Jerusalem. We will occupy the whole city and fill it with Jews.”
Politics / Diplomacy / International news
Arrests of Hamas officials cloud Palestinian unity
TML 5 June — As the Hamas and Fatah movements work to put together a national unity cabinet, ending four years of acrimony, talks are being clouded by what Hamas says is an unremitting campaign by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of arrests and harassment in the West Bank. “Not only have no political prisoners been released until now, but more are being arrested and summoned for questioning all the time,” Hamed Al-Betawi, a Hamas member of parliament from the West Bank city of Nablus, told The Media Line … PA government spokesman Ghassan Al-Khatib told The Media Line he had “no comment or information” on the imminent release of Hamas prisoners, who are estimated to number some 300. Others are held by Israel, which maintains a security presence in much of the West Bank. “A further delay by the security agencies in releasing the prisoners would mean the collapse of reconciliation,” Qabha told PIC. “According to the agreement, the prisoners should have been released immediately after the signing, but more than a month has gone by and most prisoners have not been released.”
Erekat calls on world to recognize Palestinian state
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 4 June — Marking the 44th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, member of the PLO Executive Committee and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Saturday called on the international community to take the needed steps to put an end to the prolonged Israeli occupation, starting with the recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders as well as supporting the admission of Palestine as member state in the United Nations … “When the Palestinians were divided, Israel used our division as an excuse not to negotiate. Now that we are united, Israel is using our unity as a reason not to negotiate. We will not allow our aspirations to be held hostage by Israel’s intransigence. And so we will continue our diplomatic effort to gain international recognition for our state on the 1967 borders. We will use every peaceful means available to us to achieve our rights…”
Libyan revolutionaries deny Israel relations talks
BENGHAZI, (PIC) 5 June — The National Transitional Council, the political body leading the Libyan revolution, denied Saturday claims that it sent French writer Bernard-Henri Levy to tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that, if in power, the body would seek diplomatic ties with Israel. “We welcomed Levy as a special envoy from the French president, and we never talked about our intention to establish ties with Israel,” said NTC head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil in a statement to the press. “We are members of the Arab League and we support efforts the Palestinians have exerted to establish their independent state,” Abdul-Jalil added.
Bulgaria confirms its support for Palestinian statehood
SOFIA (WAFA) 5 June — The Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikolay Mladenov confirmed his country’s stance of supporting the Palestinian people to obtain their independence and realize a two-state solution. Mladenov had met with the Palestinian Ambassador to Bulgaria, Ahmed al-Mathbouh, on Sunday, in preparation for the extended meeting initiated by Bulgaria with the ambassadors of Muslim nations.
Other news
70.7% of Palestinian forests are damaged, says PCBS
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 June — Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) Sunday said in a published report that 70.7% of Palestinian forest areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are damaged areas … Following 1967, many of the forests covering most of the Palestinian Territory have become barren as a result of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian land and environment, and due to excessive use by the Palestinians, said the report. The report also said that the Ecological Footprint (EF), which represents the demand for natural resources by humans, in the Palestinian Territory is the least among the neighboring countries.
Analysis / Opinion / Interviews
Interview: Planning the Nakba Day movement in Lebanon / Max Blumenthal
EI 5 June — Four days [after 15 May], I sat in a hotel lobby on New York City’s Upper West Side with Rami Zurayk, an agronomist at the American University of Beirut and Palestinian rights activist who witnessed the demonstration first-hand. With barely enough time to collect himself before landing in New York, Zurayk overflowed with excitement as he described to me the refugees’ embracing of mass unarmed resistance, and shook with horror while recounting the lethal Israeli reaction, which he called “the ‘Dahiya doctrine’ applied to the Arab Spring.” Named for a Beirut suburb that Israel flattened in the 2006 Lebanon war, the “Dahiya doctrine” is the Israeli army’s justification for the application of disproportionate force against a civilian population.
Move over Nakba, Naksa is here / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam, 4 June — Until a few  years ago, it seemed that the narrative of the Israeli-Arab conflict was determined mostly by Israel …
There wasn’t much room in all this history, destiny, and messianic redemption for the narrative of the “loser.”  Israelis, the most humane among them, could afford to acknowledge the sins that enabled the triumphs of Israel.  These visionaries bucked the national consensus, but they were swimming upstream and against the prevailing winds. Over time, their voice became thinner and thinner until it was mostly snuffed out in the shouts of triumph from the Israeli nationalist camp. But over the past decade or more, the tables have turned.  With the onset of the Intifadas, Palestinians began to make a claim to a narrative of their own.  It wasn’t just a story they proclaimed for themselves.  They asked the rest of the world to acknowledge it as well.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the world has turned from intense admiration of Israel’s achievements to recognition of the moral cost of those victories.

UN’s 193rd member – Palestine? / Ronen Matzini
Ynet 5 June — The United Nations has 192 member states at this time. For Israel, the most pessimistic scenario is to discover one morning that the Palestinians got the 193rd seat, via a unilateral move that circumvents negotiations. However the Ramallah leadership’s path to the sought-after seat at the General Assembly in Manhattan is not an easy one at all. First and foremost, the Palestinians are facing the American obstacle … On top of the negative response from Washington, Ramallah is facing an admittance process that requires more than just one vote at the UN General Assembly. Over the past weekend, current GA President Joseph Deiss made it clear that the Palestinian Authority will not be able to join as a member state without a Security Council endorsement … The 1933 Montevideo Convention set four international law criteria for establishing the status of a state: Permanent population, territory defined by permanent borders, effective government and ability to manage both domestic and external affairs. Despite the dispute over the future state’s borders, it appears that the Palestinians meet the requirements, especially in light of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, which boosted the effective government element. “In fact, the only thing missing for a Palestinian state today is their declaration,” says Dr. Robbie Sabel, an international law lecturer at Hebrew University and formerly the Foreign Ministry’s legal advisor. Despite the long road they must take in order to receive the status of a UN member state, should the Palestinians declare statehood, the direct implications in the international theater will be dramatic, as many states are expected to recognize “Palestine” immediately after such declaration. “It will be a similar situation to what we are seeing today in Taiwan or in Kosovo; many states recognized their statehood and some did not, such as Israel. Kosovo is not a UN member, but many countries recognize it as an independent state,” Dr. Sabel said.,7340,L-4078464,00.html (listserv) (archive)

‘NYT’ grants Israel the occupied Golan (and paragraph 3, to say, We shot at their feet)

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

Beginning with its headline saying that Israel clashed with protesters on the “Syrian border,” New York Times coverage of the protest in the occupied Golan Heights today refuses to describe the territory as occupied. No, Israel captured it in 1967, it is “Israeli-controlled.” And the border between the Golan and the rest of Syria is described–by Israeli reporter Isabel Kershner–as the Syrian border, and from the west, the same border is described as the Israeli border. The piece also grants prominence to an Israeli government spokesperson who gets the third paragraph to explain that Israelis had no choice but to fire at the protesters’ feet. But as Kershner herself reports, Syrian sources say that at least two were shot in head and chest. And accounts say a couple of hundred were wounded. Why credit the claim, We shot at their feet?

Glenn Beck says artists’ support for Palestinians shows ‘we are behind the curve’ on Israel

Jun 05, 2011


Glenn Beck is worried all the hip artists for Palestine are influencing our culture. He “hesitated” to tell viewers about it. The flotilla is also “evil.” This is definitely garnering more attention than an endorsement by Cold Play. It’s hard to top Glenn for riveting the nation. “We are behind the curve… on the Israel front.”

Let’s make Glenn cry even more. Push it! Watch it on full screen! Buy it!

They steal Palestinian minerals on occupied land, and open live fire on protesters, and the west is silent

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From Joseph Dana at +972. Hey they are raising money; give +972 money.

This morning, roughly 40 unarmed Palestinians among with four Israelis, held a demonstration at an illegal Israeli quarry built on the land of the villages of Ni’ilin and Budrus. As the demonstrators approached the quarry they could see an Israeli private security guard screaming at them from a small distance. Within seconds, the guard opened live fire on the protesters. He even took time to aim at individual protesters.

The [linked] video was shot by one of the activists on the scene. According to eyewitnesses, within five minutes three Israeli military jeeps arrived and told the protesters to leave and that the area was a closed military zone. Instead of disciplining the security guard for opening live fire on unarmed demonstrators, soldiers attacked the group with tear gas. Palestinians are reporting that one person was hit in the head with shrapnel. The below video is from a demonstration held in the same area earlier in the week.

You organize a protest. They come to your door at 2 a.m., make you undress, order you to report to security… And the west is silent

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From the Popular Committee in Beit Ommar. Note to Americans: this type of harassment of the Gandhis and Kings of the West Bank is absolutely routine:

At 2:00 am on Friday, June 3rd, Israeli military forces entered Beit Ommar and made their way to the home of Popular Committee member and PSP coordinator Mousa Abu Maria.

When they could not immediately find the him, the soldiers woke Abu Maria’s neighbor to direct them. The man refused, but the soldiers took him along anyways until they found the correct door.

When Abu Maria opened the door, the soldiers demanded that he strip off his clothes. Abu Maria refused, but the soldiers insisted until he complied. After checking him, the soldiers pushed in and demanded to see his identification card. Abu Maria provided it to them.

The soldiers began to hassle Abu Maria, identifying him as “the one who organizes protests every week.” Abu Maria responded that he did not see the problem with that, and again questioned the soldiers’ presence in his village and home.

Finally, the soldiers served Abu Maria with a document requiring his presence at a meeting with the head of security in Gush Etzion in three days’ time. Abu Maria was told he would be arrested if he did not go, and the soldiers took his mobile number as added insurance.

Previous army incursions to Abu Maria’s house have resulted in his arrest, as well as the confiscation of laptops. The house and its contents are often ransacked and broken.

Netanyahu owns Congress, but Palestinians have captured Europe

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

David Horovitz in the Jerusalem Post on the battle for Europe. Israel is losing Europe. But it’s got the U.S., forever. The UN vote for a Palestinian state will be a “train wreck” that leads to greater boycott. And Obama should have handled Netanyahu better, to try and head off the European rage toward Israel… How should he have finessed Netanyahu? Oh, by not pressing Israel as he did in his 1967 remarks. Oh my. thanks to Blankfort.

A solitary heckler apart, the prime minister won the kind of adulatory reception in Congress 10 days ago that he could not dream of receiving in any sizable political forum in Israel. He wouldn’t feel that kind of love at a big gathering of his own Likud Party, never mind his parliament, where he is lucky if he can get through a few sentences without hostile interruption…

An overwhelming GA vote in favor of Palestine may well be unavoidable. A UNGA vote in support of Palestine backed by “responsible” European nations would be a blow to Israel of a whole different order.

It would be seen as legitimizing a radically intensified boycott and sanctions effort. It would be interpreted by extremists here as providing something of a green light for violence and terrorism against Israel. It would bolster momentum for legal warfare against Israel, including via the International Criminal Court in The Hague. (If the Palestinians are seen as a state, not merely by predictably sympathetic nations but by “fair-minded” nations too, the ICC would be more likely to seek to acquire jurisdiction for prosecuting alleged Israeli crimes in the West Bank, including as relates to settlements.) And it would emphatically bolster mass, unarmed “Arab Spring”-style protests – the kind Israel failed to face down on a small scale two weeks ago, and the kind it may well already begin to encounter on a larger scale from Sunday.

None of this is to say that Netanyahu failed Israel with that virtuoso performance before Congress last Tuesday. That speech – with its emphasis on the Jewish connection to Judea and Samaria, and on Palestinian statehood not hinging on Israeli compromise but on Arab recognition of Israeli legitimacy – set out contextual basics with passion, dexterity, clarity and flair.

But it did not free the prime minister of the obligation to use astute diplomacy to head off the September “train wreck.” It did not free him of the obligation to show, not just to tell, that Israel is ready for peace, and that it is the Palestinians who are not.

Obama and his hierarchy should have consulted more effectively with Netanyahu and his hierarchy ahead of the State Department bombshell speech.

Even Sandra Day O’Connor (in NY Review of Books) sees damage to US interests in ‘vast disparity’ of Israel’s power

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

The latest New York Review of Books reprints a good letter from last January to Obama from a passel of wise men and women in the Establishment. The letter calls for a deal on the 1967 lines with very limited swaps and though it’s a dead letter, it’s significant for a few reasons: 1, you see a bunch of establishment figures from Frank Carlucci to Paul Volcker to James Wolfensohn to Lee Hamilton to Sandra Day O’Connor to Rita Hauser (a prominent Jewish lawyer who helped endow the Edward Said chair at Columbia, which Rashid Khalidi holds). Well here are the names:

David L. Boren, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank C. Carlucci, William J. Fallon, Chuck Hagel, Lee H. Hamilton, Gary Hart, Rita E. Hauser, Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, Sandra Day O’Connor, Thomas R. Pickering, Paul Volcker, James D. Wolfensohn

The significance of the letter is that the NY Review of Books is platforming it. I always criticize the NYRB for having too many Israeli voices, Jewish voices. Well not here.

Most of them are not Jewish, most are “American interest” types, and they warn about the “vast disparity” of power between Israelis and Palestinians that is prolonging this conflict, they hint that Obama should punish Israel if it fails to crack down to the 1967 borders, they tell him he won’t suffer political repercussions if he explains the situation to the American people, and they evidently see the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation in favorable terms. As they urged in January: “The US will encourage the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas on terms compatible with these principles and UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.”


Left to their own devices, it is the vast disparity of power between the two parties rather than international law and fairness that will continue to prevail….

What is widely perceived as a terminal failure of US Middle East peace diplomacy has left a vacuum that threatens to deepen the State of Israel’s isolation, undermine Palestinian moderation, and endanger American interests in the region and beyond. That vacuum is beginning to be filled by new international initiatives that increase Israelis’ sense of existential threat from what they perceive to be a global movement that seeks their country’s delegitimization.

But it is not the State of Israel within its 1967 borders that is being challenged. It is Israel’s occupation, the relentless enlargement of its settlements, its dispossession of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and the humanitarian disaster caused by its blockade of Gaza that are the target of international anger and condemnation.

Neoconservative David Brooks admits he saw Iraq war as necessary for ‘peace process’

Jun 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

David Brooks admitted everything yesterday. Monstrous column. Who will call him on these belligerent attitudes? He said that the peace process is in essence the pacification of Arab countries. And so it required the invasion of Iraq and, prospectively, getting rid of Qaddafi, Assad, and Hamas. Not a word about the occupation, not a word about 25-to-1 ratio of water used, Jews to Palestinians in the West Bank. This is the neoconservative mind: the only issue is Israel’s dominance in the region, and our support for it. Be thankful to Brooks for admitting it.

In fact, the current peace process is doomed because of the inability to make a categorical distinction. There are some countries in the region that are not nice, but they are normal – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia. But there are other governments that are fundamentally depraved. Either as a matter of thuggishness (Syria) or ideology (Hamas), they reject the full humanity of other human beings. They believe it is proper and right to kill innocents. They can never be part of a successful negotiation because they undermine the universal principles of morality.

…There won’t be peace so long as depraved regimes are part of the picture. That’s why it’s crazy to get worked into a lather about who said what about the 1967 border. As long as Hamas and the Assad regime are in place, the peace process is going nowhere, just as it’s gone nowhere for lo these many years.

That’s why it’s necessary, especially at this moment in history, to focus on the nature of regimes, not only the boundaries between them. To have a peaceful Middle East, it was necessary to get rid of Saddam’s depraved regime inIraq. It will be necessary to try to get rid of Gadhafi’s depraved regime in Libya. It’s necessary, as everybody but the Obama administration publicly acknowledges, to see Assad toppled. It will be necessary to marginalize Hamas.It was necessary to abandon the engagement strategy that Barack Obama campaigned on and embrace the cautious regime-change strategy that is his current doctrine.

This is unreconstructed neoconservatism, transplanted to the Arab spring, and signalling that the Palestinians must never have self-determination, unless it’s in Jordan. Notice the “universal principles of morality” — which Brooks, who has visited Israel a dozen times and was raised as a Jew to be “gooey-eyed” about the place– fails to apply to Israel’s occupation. No, the neoconservative principle is that Arabs must be bludgeoned by a superpower into accepting the presence of Israel.As Ed Koch used to say, How’m I doing??

Note as well that Brooks says “cautious regime change” is Obama’s policy. Well Brooks is a favorite of Obama, and it’s hard to imagine him saying anything like that without a signal from the White House. So Obama is pushing for the removal of Assad and Gaddafi.

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