‘Huffpo’ corrects ‘Times’ smear that Arabs don’t care about Palestinians

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

If you wonder why the internet is gaining power, and the MSM are losing it, consider the politics of our Middle East policy (going back to Iraq) and the fact that the NY Times today runs the disgraceful Op-Ed by Israel lobbyist Efraim Karsh telling the Palestinians to fold, take any deal Israel offers, because no one in the Arab world cares about them, and it therefore falls to Huffington Post to correct Karsh’s misrepresentations with a great piece by James Zogby. This is a pattern. The newspapers echo rightwing/conventional wisdom on the issue; the internet offers balance, thoughtfulness. Zogby:

Karsh is dead wrong. His problem begins with his abuse of a “bad poll” that was not a poll at all. In al Arabiya’s defense, they never called it a poll and never vouched for its scientific accuracy. It was an “online vote” — like those sponsored by news networks and websites worldwide in an effort to engage readers and viewers. That’s hardly a poll, and certainly not deserving of either [columnist Saleh] Qallab’s lamenting or Karsh’s gloating.

Karsh’s next error was in not checking the survey language. The actual question makes no mention of “Palestine” or “Palestinians.” Rather, it asks respondents about their level of interest in the “Middle East peace process” — to which 71 percent indicate “no interest.” Given the lack of results and the repeated disappointments and frustrations experienced during just the last two decades of the so-called “Middle East peace process,” this lack of interest displayed by respondents in the al Arabiya website question is hardly surprising. But to go from this result to Qallab’s alarming conclusion or Karsh’s broader argument is both unwarranted and dangerously wrong.

In fact Arab public opinion remains riveted on the Palestinian question. In my forthcoming book Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why It Matters I present results of recent polling we have conducted across the Arab world, making clear that the issue of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinians are priority concerns for Arabs from Morocco to the Arab Gulf States. While Arab opinion had great hopes in the ability and commitment of President Obama to help Palestinians realize their rights, widespread disappointment in the U.S. now exists across the region.

Update from the ‘Tent of Nations’

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

In late May, I wrote a piece about the Nassar family’s ‘Tent of Nations’ project outside Bethlehem, and the demolition orders that had been issued by the Israeli occupation forces. I have just got back from a visit to Palestine and was able to visit the land, and get an update from Daoud.

I’d arrived by myself, and as I walked up the access track towards the land, I saw that there were four Israeli soldiers standing next to a tree along the way. As I neared, they moved across the track and stopped me. They asked for my passport and what I was ‘doing in Israel’. I told them I was coming to see my friend, and I walked on.

Israeli soldiers watch arriving children

Just after, a bus load of children from the Bethlehem area arrived, as the summer camp season was in full swing. Later, Daoud would tell me that ever since the demolition orders had been issued, soldiers would come to the access track almost every day. That’s meant they’ve witnessed all the visitors – both Palestinian and international – who have come to the ‘Tent of Nations’ in the last couple of months.

“They’re looking for a confrontation”, says Daoud, “that’s why there is this presence. They want an excuse to declare this a closed military area, but we’re not going to give this to them.”

In recent weeks, Daoud told me, the family has received numerous solidarity visits, in addition to the scheduled events – including lectures, group lunches, and the summer camps. Volunteers have come from countries such as the USA, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Slovenia. There has also been a visit by US consulate officials, Daoud related, who told him that they were visiting because “you have so many friends in the US”.

As well as defiance, however, there is also uncertainty and fear: after a legal appeal, the demolition orders were successfully frozen for 60 days. That time period runs out tomorrow, 3 August.

The simple structures under threat include two roofs, three tents, animal sheds, an underground water cistern, and a simple shelter serving as a toilet. In 2007, after a planning permit application was rejected (unsurprisingly), the Nassars were told that the reason was the lack of a ‘zoning plan’ for the area.

New housing units in Rosh Tzurim colony

This doesn’t seem to have been a hindrance for the expansion of illegal colonies on the hills surrounding the Tent of Nations. In fact, the Nassars’ neighbours also include two technically ‘unauthorised’ settlement outposts – ‘Neve Daniel North’ and ‘Derech Ha’avot’. The latter was the subject of a court case that made the news earler this year, and, as B’Tselem noted, “the State Attorney’s Office’s position on the Derekh Ha’avot outpost sanctions the looting of land and the continuing, cumulative criminal construction in this outpost and in all the other settlements.”

As we walked around, alongside the rows of olive trees and a short distance away from where children were playing games, Daoud mentioned that the other night they had turned on all the lights as a way of emphasising their presence to the surrounding settlements and army posts.

I was reminded of remarks made by Ariel Sharon who, when flying over the Occupied Territories, said that “Arabs should see Jewish lights every night from 500 metres.” Despite the boulders in the road, military intimidation, and demolition threats, Daoud and the Nassars continue to make their own facts on the ground, living and breathing sumoud and creative resistance.

NY cruise for Gaza now sold out!

Posted: 02 Aug 2010  

Wow. 400 places on the New York cruise Thursday, to raise money for the US boat to Gaza, all gone!

You can get on a waiting list.

Today in Palestine: New checkpoints in Hebron, and a college student’s arrest there

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

IOF gives demolition notices to a mosque and houses in Jenin

Jenin, July 31, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces raided ‘Khirbet Irza’ east of Tubas in the West Bank and stormed the houses there handing owners warrants of demolition including a mosque and a number of housing units.  The head of the village’s council, Mokhlis Massaeid, said that the demolition notices included a mosque built on an area of 100 square meters and was finished recently, in addition to four houses, and handed him a warrant that asks a resident of the village to surrender himself to an Israeli court claiming that he did an “illegal” action by building in his own village.
IOF erects 3 new checkpoints in Hebron

Hebron, July 31, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces erected today morning three new militant checkpoints at three intersections of the northern province of Hebron in the West Bank.  Security sources said that the Israeli occupation forces erected a checkpoint on the bridge of ‘Halhul’ located at the north of Hebron, and another checkpoint under a bridge in “Beit Kahil”, in addition to another checkpoint near a fuel station the.  The Israeli soldiers detained three citizens at checkpoints and abused them while they checked their identity cards.
IOF erects new checkpoint in Nablus

Nablus, August 2, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces erected today morning a new militant checkpoint at the main entrance to the village of ‘Salem’ near Nablus, in the northern West Bank.  According to eyewitnesses, Israeli militant Jeep stopped the passing cars on the main road of the village and seized a number of the youngsters and strip-searched them.  Witnesses said that the Israeli soldiers stopped the vehicles and forced people out for inspection and checked their identity cards on a computer without reported arrests.
PFLP leader: Israeli forces destroy pipes, detain 2

Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces destroyed over 30 dunums of farmland in the Hebron village of Al-Baq’a and detained two relatives Monday, the landowner and a Palestinian faction leader said.  Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Badran Jabir said Israeli troops ransacked his home and farm, damaging irrigation networks and seedlings. He said he and his wife were assaulted as they tried to defend their property.
Human Rights Watch:  Israel: Halt Demolitions of Bedouin Homes in Negev

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli government should immediately impose a moratorium on demolishing the homes of Bedouin citizens, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also fully compensate those whose homes and property it has destroyed and allow them to return to their village pending a final agreement with the displaced that respects their rights under international law.  In a pre-dawn raid on July 27, 2010, Israeli security forces destroyed all 45 homes, animal pens, and other structures in the village of al-Araqib, leaving more than 300 people homeless, about half of them children under 16. Nearly 90,000 Palestinian Arab Bedouins, the indigenous inhabitants of the Negev (Naqab) region of southern Israel, live in dozens of “unrecognized” towns. Because the Israeli authorities refuse to recognize their towns and villages, the Bedouins risk the destruction of their homes at any time.  “Tearing down an entire village and leaving its inhabitants homeless without exhausting all other options for settling longstanding land claims is outrageous,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The attack on these Israeli citizens’ property shows that Israel’s discriminatory policies toward Palestinian Arab Bedouin have not changed.”
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

The weekend in protests
Bil’in were joined by group of rappers from Britain and the US 30 july 2010

Today 30 July 2010 the people of Bil’in were joined by several groups of internationals, including a group of rappers from Britain and the US. A large part of the demonstrators managed to approach the soldiers who had already entered the gate. Two people were detained for a while, following large amounts of tear gas, eventually forcing the protestors back towards the village. One Israeli protestor was hit by a tear gas canister in his leg, causing pain, while another British citizen was dragged several meters by soldier, causing his back bruising and bleeding.

Ni’lin honors its martyrs and calls for continued popular resistance

August 1st, 2010– The weekly protest commemorated the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Ahmad Musa and Yousef Amira. Ahmad Musa was killed during a demonstration on July 29th, 2008 from a bullet in his head and Yusuf Amira was injured fatally the next day, and died a week later.
Strong demonstration of international solidarity during Bi’lin’s weekly protest

July 31st, 2010– The weekly demonstration against the Wall and settlements in the village of Bi’lin (Ramallah District)honored the second anniversary of the deaths of Ahmed Musa and Yousef Amira – activists killed in Ni’lin by Israeli Occupation Forces as they were protesting against the Wall.
Al-Ma’sara weekly protest demands and end to futile negotiations

July 31st, 2010– The protest not only included al-Ma’sara villagers, but also the participation of the Popular Committee of the village Wadi Rahal. The protest was part of the joint activities put together by the villages of Al-Ma’sara and Wadi-Rahal and international solidarity activists from Spain, France and Italy.
Nabi Saleh: IOF hold a child hostage, wound a British activist

On July 30th, 2010, the Israeli Occupation Forces detained the child Walid Daifallah (13 years-old) and arrested international solidarity activist and took him to an unknown destination in the village of Nabi Saleh (Ramallah District). The Occupation Forces also wounded a British supporter, 23 years-old, with a tear gas canister fired at her foot during the Nabi Saleh weekly protest.
‘Boycott Israel’ protest held Friday in Bil’in village; two injured

Around 200 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals – including a group of hip-hop musicians from the US and Britain – joined a protest on Friday afternoon in the Palestinian village of Bil’in calling on the international community to boycott Israel in order to end Israeli apartheid practices.
IOF suppresses weekly march in Beit Amer, 4 injured

Hebron, July 31, (Pal Telegraph) Journalists and citizens were Injured today in the suppression of the Israeli occupation forces of the path of the weekly march which started from the northern governorate of Hebron in the West Bank.  The spokesman of the Palestine Solidarity Project, Mohamed Ayad, said that photojournalist Amer Abdeen was injured when targeted by three gas grenades directly, leading to his suffocation and and wounds in his right hand, and photographer Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun also suffered from suffocation.  Heba Mohamed Abdel-Hamid Abu Maria (20 years) and coordinator of the National Committee Against the Separation Wall, Ahmed Khalil Abu Hashim (50 years), both suffered from suffoctaion as a result of gas grenades launched by the Israeli occupation forces .
Activists work to stop tax-exempt donations to Israeli settlements

As Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank continues to be a strain on US-Israel relations, an unflattering light is being shone on US private donations towards the development of the settlements that are increasingly encroaching on Palestinian land. Alice Speri reports for The Electronic Intifada.
In Palestine, Demolitions and Dispossessions, Stephen Lendman

Daily, Israeli oppression continues – demolishing homes, dispossessing occupants, and revoking residency rights, three of its many crimes under international law, Israel spurning it with impunity. On July 22, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) reported mass Jordan Valley Al Farisyie village demolitions, displacing 107 people, including 52 children. Targeted were 26 residential tents, 22 animal shelters, seven taboun clay ovens, eight kitchens, 10 bathrooms, four water tanks, and an agricultural equipment shed – in all, 74 structures illegally bulldozed, family homes and belongings destroyed along with large quantities of food and animal fodder.
Israel Takes Another Step Away from Democracy

According to the BNC(Boycott National Committee) Statement published on the 9th of July “after five years of BDS, the movement has proven, indisputably, to be the most effective and morally consistent form of solidarity with the people of Palestine in our struggle to end Israel’s occupation, apartheid, and persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned right of return for the Palestinian refugees.” With academic and trade Unions (including UNISON), cultural figures including Dustin Hoffman and Elvis Costello and large supermarket chains including Marks and Spencers on board, the BDS campaign is gaining momentum. Furthermore it is beginning to have an economic impact: settlements have been reporting cuts in production as a result of the boycotts.
Violence and Aggression

Gaza blast wounds 30 Palestinians

An explosion at the house of a senior Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip has wounded at least 30 people, Hamas and medical workers in the Palestinian territory have said.  The explosion early on Monday wrecked the house of Alaa al-Danaf, a field commander of the Hamas military wing, in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp in southern Gaza, Palestinian security officials said.  At least 17 people were rushed to a hospital and unconfirmed reports say at least two people were killed in the blast.  Palestinian security officials said it was an Israeli air strike but the Israeli military denied any involvement, saying there was no other activity in the area.
Israeli Media Allow Army To Whitewash Another Murder

Another Palestinian life was ended by Israeli gunfire last week. Again it was dismissed by military spokesmen as a case of mistaken identity, again it was presented in the Israeli press as a successful security operation. Written and photographed by Aaron Dearborn.
IOF detains a college student in Hebron

Hebron, July 31, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces arrested at dawn today a college student from the city of Hebron in the West Bank, after raiding his home.  Local sources said that the Israeli occupation forces arrested Shadi Akram Shaheen (23 years), after raiding his home in the ‘Hawouz’ village in Hebron city.  Same sources added that the Israeli occupation forces transferred Shadi to an unknown destination, noting that he is a student at Palestine Polytechnic University and was previously detained in Israeli jails.
Center says Israeli forces raided prison ward

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Al-Asra Center for Prisoners Studies said Monday that an Israeli special force unit raided a ward holding several high-ranking Palestinian leaders.  Prisoners told the center that the Dror unit stormed the ward Sunday, damaging personal property and confiscating photo albums, books, and letters.  The center added that the Israeli Prison Service sent four prisoners into solitary confinement. They were identified as Raed Shaf’i, Ayman Al-Far, Ahmad Shamarkha, and Alaa Al-Aswad.  Raafat Hamdouna, the center’s director, said the IPS’ escalation has created dire conditions within jails, calling on human rights groups to shed light on violations against Palestinian detainees.
Palestinian Detainee Abuse during Operation Cast Lead

US, August 2, (Pal Telegraph – By Stephen Lendman) On July 6, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI) and Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel released a report titled, “Exposed: The Treatment of Palestinian Detainees During Operation Cast Lead,” detailing their horrific treatment.  Transferred to Israel for interrogation, detainees related grim details of their ordeal – grave human rights violations, showing Israel’s “contempt for the rule of law.”
Rocket Attacks
Rockets strike Israel and Jordan

One killed and four injured in Aqaba hours after blast in Gaza refugee camp.
No decision from Hamas to escalate tension with Israel: official

GAZA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — The Islamic Hamas movement did not make any decision to escalate tension with Israel, a Hamas official said on Sunday.  “It’s a sheer Israeli escalation,” Salah al-Bardawil, a Gaza- based senior Hamas leader told Xinhua.  Al-Bardawil accused Israel of “fabricating” the story of firing rockets at Israel to justify its crimes against the Palestinian people and avoid the international criticism for the blockade it imposed on the Gaza Strip in 2007 when the Hamas seized it by force.,7340,L-3927791,00.html
Rocket attacks on Israel: Why Hamas has an interest in keeping Gaza quiet

Rocket attacks near the Israeli towns of Sderot and Eilat have raised concerns of escalating Israel-Hamas tensions. But while Hamas could be a potential spoiler in peace talks, it also has an interest in avoiding a fresh clash.
Rights group: Silence over airstrikes spurs impunity

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian rights group Al-Mezan warned Monday that the international community’s silence over Israel’s escalation of attacks on Gaza encourages Israel to violate international law with impunity, a statement read.  The human rights center conducted field investigations of the damage caused by the weekend’s airstrikes, which killed one Palestinian and injured more than 21, and damaged 30 houses and institutions.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
Thirsty? How about an ice-cold glass of sewage-infested water?

On Saturday 31 July, Amnesty International members will be handing out free samples of bottled water to people in Dublin, Cork and Galway.The only trouble is that the water – like 90 percent of water available to Palestinians in Gaza, is filthy.
The rights of the occupied?

Israel maintains that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not apply to the occupied West Bank and Gaza, although it says that the treaty does apply to Jewish settlers there, committee member Christine Chanet said.
In Brief: Israel to deport 400 children

TEL AVIV Monday, August 02, 2010 (IRIN) – Of the 1,200 children of migrant workers slated for deportation in 2009, the Israeli Cabinet on 1 August granted legal status to 800 and said 400 would be deported with their families to their parents’ country of origin within 21 days.
Nativity deportee says family denied entry to Jordan

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities on Friday stopped the wife and children of a Palestinian exiled by Israel following the siege of the Church of Nativity, the deportee said.  Naji Ubayyat said his family was en route to visit him in Gaza, hoping to travel from Jordan to Egypt and then over the Rafah crossing.  He added that this was the second time his family had been denied entry to Jordan by Israeli authorities, who he said did not provide an explanation for their decision.
Israel’s Arab Helpers
Erekat to Haaretz: New proposal more generous than deal we offered Olmert

Avi Issacharoff and Yanir Yagna — “I presented Senator George Mitchell with a series of official documents,” Erekat said, referring to the special U.S. envoy to the Middle East. “We gave him maps and papers that clearly state our positions on all the final-status issues: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, water and security. Thus far we have not received any answer from the Israeli side.”
Egyptian police blocks off 10 secret tunnels at borders with Gaza

Egyptian Security authorities blocked off on Sunday ten openings of secret tunnels at borders with the Gaza Strip.  The ten openings were located in a residential area north of Rafah crossing, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.  Meanwhile, the Egyptian police seized huge quantities of ready- for-smuggling to Gaza timber, steel and cement in Rafah during a crackdown on a warehouse in the border area.  The seized 35-truckloads of building material were confiscated and transported to a governmental warehouse. Nobody was arrested in connection with the seized quantities of building material.  Since Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 and closed down all commercial crossings with the enclave, the Palestinians dug hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza- Egypt borders to use them in smuggling goods from Egypt into the besieged enclave.
Political/Other Developments    
US boosts Israeli missile funding 

WASHINGTON – US House appropriators have pushed funding for Israeli missile defense programs to its highest level ever, with $422.7 million now slated for 2011.  Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense added $95.7m. to the original White House funding request for the long-range Arrow programs and medium-range David’s Sling, according to sources close to the panel. The lion’s share – $108.8m. – will go to the Arrow 3 system, which the US signed off on after some initial hesitation.
U.S.: PLO claim of threat to cut PA ties borders on ‘absurdity’

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi says Obama administration threatened to cut PA ties if direct negotiations with Netanayhu don’t resume, Arab media reports.
Abbas resists U.S. pressure for direct talks (Reuters)

Reuters – The Palestinian president told a visiting U.S. official Monday that Israel must commit to clear terms of reference for peace talks before the start of direct negotiations, Palestinian officials said.*
Israel’s Peres heads to Egypt for talks (AFP)

AFP – Israeli President Shimon Peres left for Cairo early on Sunday where he was to hold talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the Middle East peace process, Peres’s spokeswoman said*
Damascus: Syria-Saudi ties are none of U.S.’s business

Saudi King Abdullah visits Syria to hold talks with Assad ahead of joint trip t Lebanon; Syrian Foreign ministry says U.S. ‘has no right to define our ties with other countries.’
Assad warns war prospects rising in Middle East

DAMASCUS: Syria’s president warned Sunday that the prospects for war in the region were on the rise as chances for peace dwindled amid increased tensions in the region. Bashar Assad’s comments come after Israel accused Syria of smuggling Scuds and other types of missiles to Lebanon’s Hizbullah.
Israel’s Barak claims new Turkish spy chief is ‘supporter of Iran’

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has expressed concern over Turkey’s appointment of a new spy chief he called a “supporter” of his country’s archfoe Iran, Army Radio said Sunday.  “Turkey is a friendly country, a strategic ally, but the nomination in recent weeks of a new chief of the Turkish secret services who is a supporter of Iran worries us,” he told a meeting of his Labor party.  Barak added that the appointment could result in “the Iranians having access to secret information,” in a recording of his remarks broadcast by military radio.
Israel agrees to participate in UN probe of Gaza flotilla

Committee investigating May 31 raid will be preceded by review panel working with conclusions of independent probes held by Israel and Turkey.
Other News


The gremlins were very unhappy with Yossi Gurvitz, Itamar Sheltiel and me yesterday for exposing the identity of Doron Zahavi as the military intelligence agent alleged to have tortured Mustafa Dirani and threatened East Jeruslem Palestinians in his new role as Arab affairs liaison to the Jerusalem police.  An Israeli colleague posted a link to my post at the right-wing Rotter forum last night and at 5:30AM this morning a sustained DOS attack began on my site.  Yossi’s and Itamar’s blogs were also attacked as well after they joined me in identifying Zahavi.
Many Jews unsettled over Harper holiday greetings

When Michelle Kofman found a Rosh Hashanah greeting card from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in her mailbox last month, she was left with one puzzling question: How does he know I’m Jewish?
Democratic congressman fires staffer for ‘Jewish money’ list

New York congressman Mike McMahon fires his communications director after his reelection campaign staff released a list of 80 Jews who had donated to the campaign of McMahon’s Republican rival.
Haniyeh names his grandson Erdogan

Hamas leader in Gaza pays tribute to Turkish prime minister in gratitude for his support for Palestinians.,7340,L-3928938,00.html
Ramallah building boom symbolizes West Bank growth

Developers say property prices have risen by 30 percent in the last two years. Buyers expect prices to go higher, though accurate price surveys do not exist.
Glass Factories In Hebron: Cultural Identity Faces Threat Of Extinction

Muhannad Al-Adam/PNN/Exclusive – In a small old factory located in Hebron’s old city, Al-Natshah family had practiced handmade glass making for the past 120 years.  But now their historical trade is now struggling to survive.Hamdi Al-Nashah has a glass exhibit which documents the traditions of glass-making in Hebron.
Jenin Prepares For Foreign Invasion

After two years, hundreds of volunteers and over $1 million, Cinema Jenin is just a drum roll away from the grand opening. On Thursday August 5, VIPs will flood into the city for the largest cultural event in its troubled history. Everyone from Angela Merkel to Roger Waters have played their part in an extraordinary project. And two years ago it was a barn full of pigeons.
Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Israeli Rabbi Preaches “Slaughter” of Gentile Babies, JONATHAN COOK

A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.  Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is one of the leading ideologues of the most extreme wing of the religious settler movement. He is known to be a champion of the “price-tag” policy of reprisal attacks on Palestinians, including punishing them for attempts by officials to enforce Israeli law against the settlements.  So far the policy has chiefly involved violent harassment of Palestinians, with settlers inflicting beatings, attacking homes, throwing stones, burning fields, killing livestock and poisoning wells.  It is feared, however, that Shapira’s book The King’s Torah, published last year, is intended to offer ideological justifications for widening the scope of such attacks to include killing Palestinians, even children.
Otherwise Occupied / The humming of the zanana

Palestinians have begun using the slang word ‘zanana’ to refer to Gazans who report to Hamas authorities what people say and do.
Anti-Defamation League rebuked for opposition to planned mosque at N.Y.’s Ground Zero

ADL press release calls mosque location insensitive to 9/11 victims’ families, while other Jewish leaders urge tolerance.
MJ Rosenberg: Inside Story: Why ADL Is Opposing Ground Zero Mosque

I don’t know why it should be a surprise that the Anti-Defamation League joined the hate mongers in opposing the mosque at Ground Zero.  The fact is that neither the ADL or its twin, the American Jewish Committee (the other old, established Jewish anti-discrimination organization) has been about opposing bigotry or even anti-Semitism for at least a decade.  They now are entirely about defending Israel — or, at least their right-wing version of Israel. That is why you are infinitely more likely to hear Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, or David Harris, chief of the American Jewish Committee talk about Ahmadedinejad, the Goldstone report, the Turkish flotilla, or the “campaign to discredit Israel” than about hate crimes against Americans (which is what they used to be about).
Foxman plays Holocaust card, Philip Weiss

Joe Klein says Abe Foxman should be fired now, and points to Foxman’s long disgraceful record, including calling Klein anti-Semitic for saying that Jewish neocons had pushed the Iraq war (and now Iran war) without disclosing their true concern.
Arab Ties with Israel Damage the Palestinian Cause: Prof Gilbert Achcar

Prof. Gilbert Achcar is a renowned Lebanese academician, writer, socialist and anti-war activist. He left Lebanon in 1983 and taught international relations and politics at the University of Paris VII for several years. Since 2007, Achcar has been Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. He is a frequent contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique and ZNet.  Prof. Achcar joined me in an interview to discuss the latest developments related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla and the prospect of Israel’s occupation of West Bank and Gaza.
Robert Fisk: Israel has crept into the EU without anyone noticing

The death of five Israeli servicemen in a helicopter crash in Romania this week raised scarcely a headline.
MJ Rosenberg: Congress Chooses Bibi Over NATO

Anyone who wonders what American foreign policy might look like if it was not so utterly ridden with partisan political considerations should take a look at the United Kingdom.This is not to say that politics never intrudes on foreign policy in the UK. It does, but not in any way comparable to the way politics overruns policy here.
A Special Place in Hell / Rethinking Israel boycotts, the ADL and a N.Y. mosque

I want to thank the Olympia Food Co-op Israel boycott. Something extremely valuable is happening there.
From Shatila Camp– What does the right of return mean in 2010?, Ahmed Moor

I’ve been spending more time in the camps recently. Two days a week, I leave my apartment on my leafy street in my quiet neighborhood and jump in a taxi heading southwest.
‘Ala mafra’ sou’ Shatila, iza t-reed,’ is what I usually say to the cab driver. He drives west first, past the open air restaurants and air-conditioned mall where wealthy Beirutis gambol. The car may or may not meander and idle in the sun for twenty minutes; traffic here is possessed of neither rhyme nor reason. Either way, the driver will always manage and he’ll always make a left onto the autostrade heading south. This is when my scenery begins to evoke life at the fringes.
Israel Classifies its Past as Top Secret: An Analysis, Lawrence Davidson

Israel is a land built on myths. It is, of course, not unique in this. Indeed in this way Israel is very much like its patron, the United States. In order to build and maintain a mythical status a nation must create a picture of itself from its very inception and pass that picture down generation upon generation. For the U.S. it is the idea that the nation is a beacon of both democracy and capitalism unto the world and what it does in terms of foreign policy, and even when at war, is always done altruistically. For Israel, the myth is that the nation is democratic and the last bastion of safety for the world’s Jews. Everything it does, even when that amounts to imperial expansion, is done defensively.
Hague Whitewashes Israeli Crimes on the High Seas, Stuart Littlewood – London

‘We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history.’  My MP, a Foreign Office minister in the shiny new coalition government, has written to me saying he believes the Foreign Secretary was “extremely fair, tough and statesmanlike” in his reaction to Israel’s murderous assault on the vessel Mavi Marmara and the rest of the Free Gaza flotilla.  So I re-read William Hague’s statement to the House of Commons on 2 June, and it struck me as something the Israeli government spin doctor Mark Regev might have penned. Here are some extracts:
An American journalist speaks about How American News Media “works in favor of Israel”

Alison Weir, an American journalist explains in a series of three videos about how the news media in the United States works in favor of Israel.

American Journalist Speaks About How American News Media ‘Works In Favor Of Israel’

Does Israelo-fascism exist?, James North

Robert O. Paxton, the distinguished emeritus professor at Columbia University, is perhaps the world’s leading authority on fascism. His book Vichy France (1972) has become a classic, not least in France itself, for telling truths about the collaborationist regime that the French themselves had been too ashamed and timid to say. More recently, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004) is a masterful survey that looks thoroughly and intelligently at “fascism” instead of just using it as an epithet.  Toward the end of the book, Paxton looks at the possibility of fascism in “Other Times, Other Places” outside its peak in Europe between the two World Wars. Among several examples, he says that “. . . one must address the potential – supreme irony – for fascism in Israel.”
Honoring the Turkish sacrifice

What a difference a month makes! Just a few weeks ago, on May 31st, the Israelis intercepted the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, killing at least nine people while boarding the Turkish ship Mava Marmara in international waters. That bloody tragedy changed everything, despite desperate attempts of the Israeli government and US proxies to spin the story. In fact, the propaganda of the Israelis—posturing themselves as pitiful victims, and portraying the real victims as terrorists who deserved to die—was so utterly lacking in remorse and coherence that millions around the world were shocked and disgusted.
Roadside bomb north of Baghdad kills 5 members of family, including 4-year-old girl

Police spokesman Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi says the family was not the intended target of Friday’s bombing, which struck their car near the town of Buhriz.

Iraq Shi’ite bloc rejects incumbent Maliki as PM (Reuters)

Reuters – One of Iraq’s main Shi’ite political blocs has rejected Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s claim to a second term and halted coalition talks until his party nominates a new candidate, politicians said.*
Saddam’s invasion still hurting Iraq-Kuwait ties 20 years on

BAGHDAD: Wounds from Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 20 years ago still run deep and mar ties between the two neighbors despite efforts to overcome what has been described as the Iraqi former dictator’s worst mistake.
Saddam’s ex-lawyer suing Jordanian daily over book (AFP)

AFP – Saddam Hussein’s former attorney is suing a Jordanian daily for publishing excerpts of his book about the executed Iraqi leader, the newspaper’s lawyer said on Sunday.*

Gulf War ‘s shadow lingers after 20 years

Monday marks 20 years since Iraq, led by the late Saddam Hussein, invaded its southern neighbour Kuwait in the Gulf War, which claimed hundreds of lives. Diplomatic ties between the two countries have resumed but the trauma of the war still hangs over their relations. Many unresolved issues remain between the neighbours, including land and maritime border disputes, as well as billions of dollars in war reparations that Kuwait seeks from Iraq. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad. [August 2, 2010]

Senior Lebanese employee suspected of spying for Israel

Authorities arrest manager responsible for outgoing international phone calls in Lebanese telecom company Ogero. According to Lebanese reports, he confessed to being in contact with Jewish state.,7340,L-3928745,00.html
Aoun: Tribunal must resolve issue of false witnesses

BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun said Sunday the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to try suspects of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cannot issue an indictment before resolving the issue of false witnesses.
False Witnesses and the Hariri Investigation, Qifa Nabki

For my part, I can’t help but detect a note of warning in Nasrallah’s rhetoric and in his constant promises of “more information at a later date” whenever he discusses the issue of false witnesses. Does the party possess information about these people that could be embarrassing for certain sponsors and supporters of the STL? To judge by the flood of (largely unattributed) information published by al-Akhbar — including recorded phone conversations between a discredited STL informant and figures like Bahiya al-Hariri, Ashraf Rifi, and Detlev Mehlis (which, I imagine, could only have arrived in its newsroom via a very high-level leak) — I would not be surprised.
Israel Says STL Goal: Putting Israel’s “Most Ferocious Enemy” in Deep Quagmire

Israeli Media uncovered Saturday more and more details on the delusive Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s verdict. It also revealed the goal that lies behind the verdict which Israel has sought: To put “Israel’s most ferocious enemy” in a deep quagmire.   Quoting sources in the United Nations, Israeli Media reported that following the verdict’s issuance, the UN expects a quake that would shake the country.
Lebanon better able to catch alleged Israeli spies

A strengthening Lebanese government is helping the militant group Hezbollah bust alleged spy cells, sometimes using tools and tradecraft acquired from Western nations.,0,1293515.story
ISRAEL, LEBANON: Who is winning the intelligence war with Hezbollah? 

In October 2009,  Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, a former head of military intelligence, all but confirmed that Israel had intensified spying efforts in Lebanon because of Hezbollah and would stop when the Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militant group was disarmed and Israel’s border with Lebanon was peaceful.  The intelligence war continues unabated, as the Los Angeles Times reported in a front-page article Sunday, with Israel apparently trying to infiltrate and Hezbollah, with help from the Lebanese government, trying to thwart it.  “Hezbollah is not a easy target” to infiltrate, said Ephraim Kam, an Israeli intelligence expert. “The organization is not a big one. It is very compartmentalized and tough to penetrate. Also, it is an ideological-religious one, always tougher to penetrate.”
Baalbek Airdrop: Another Israeli Failure in July War Booklet

It was the 22nd day of July war in 2006, Israeli occupation forces wanted  to recover its “dignity” which has been thrown away by the divine victory achieved by the resistance fighters “Mojahedeen”. Israeli forces in that day made an air drop in the eastern Lebanon town of Baalbek, the operation lasted for six hours and ended up by the arrest of five Lebanese civilians.

Iran: Ready for Nuclear Talks With Vienna Group

Iran’s nuclear chief says his country is ready to enter negotiations with the United States, Russia and France on a possible nuclear fuel agreement.
China says it disapproves of EU sanctions against Iran

China said Friday it opposed tough new sanctions imposed by the European Union on Iran over its contested nuclear programme, again calling for more talks to resolve the standoff.
Russian oil companies may sell gasoline to Iran

Three Russian state-controlled oil companies, including OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom Neft, may begin delivering gasoline to Iran in a month, said the head of the Iran Commission of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Industry.
U.S./World News

Rioting in Kabul after US embassy car kills four civilians

Angry mob torches vehicles, chants slogans and confronts police, sparking fears 2006 city-wide riots will be repeated.
Poll: Pakistanis Dislike US, Taliban, and al-Qaeda

The recent WikiLeaks dump of war-related documents has brought little new to the debate over Washington’s ongoing military involvement in Afghanistan, but allegations that Pakistan’s intelligence services are aiding the Taliban has brought renewed attention to U.S. concerns over its reliance on Islamabad in battling Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.
Saudi, Jordanian kings stress need for cooperation

BEIRUT: Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz concluded a two-day visit to Jordan on Saturday during which he and his counterpart, King Abdullah II, discussed issues ranging from bilateral ties to regional security, according to media sources.

Political detainee sues Saudi government, defying its system

Monday, August 02, 2010, Listen to the Article – Powered by, Paul Handley, Agence France Presse, RIYADH: More than three years after he was arrested on vague allegations, Saudi political detainee Suliman al-Reshoudi who has yet to be tried or even charged with a crime is now taking on the system., Although his situation is not unusual for political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, the former judge is suing the security police and Interior Ministry to either charge him or release him., It is a remarkable challenge and the first case of its kind in the kingdom., The lawsuit, filed by activists on his behalf and led by a lawyer who cannot meet his client, is based on a little-tested legal code which offers protection to detainees for the first time.
Pentagon: Cluster Bombs ‘Save Lives’

According to the Pentagon’s 2008 policy, cluster munitions are actually humane weapons. “Because future adversaries will likely use civilian shields for military targets – for example by locating a military target on the roof of an occupied building – use of unitary weapons could result in more civilian casualties and damage than cluster munitions,” the policy claims. “Blanket elimination of cluster munitions is therefore unacceptable due not only to negative military consequences but also due to potential negative consequences for civilians.” In other words, it’s better to use a cluster bomb on enemies using a building than to blow up the entire building.
Army Suicides Reach One a Day; Epidemic Spreads to National Guard and Reserves

Thirty-two soldiers, including 11 in the Guard and Reserve, killed themselves last month, a rate of suicide not seen since the Vietnam War. Seven of the suicides took place I Iraq or Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Clears War of Wrongdoing: U.S. Army

It’s not war; the “risky behavior” of our troops at home drives them to suicide, not War.
Informant: Accused Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning Had Civilian Help

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — An Army private charged with leaking classified material to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks had civilian help, a key figure in the case said Saturday.  The development, first reported in the New York Times, suggests an expansion of the government’s investigation into leaks including more than 76,900 secret Afghanistan war records posted on WikiLeaks in the past week.
Andrew Bacevich on Afghanistan War: “The President Lacks the Guts to Get Out”

Retired U.S. army Colonel and historian Andrew Bacevich joins us for his first interview about his new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. “The question demands to be asked: Who is more deserving of contempt?” Bacevich asks. “The commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause, however misguided, in which he sincerely believes? Or the commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause in which he manifestly does not believe and yet refuses to forsake?”
State Department once warned against a tactic the NYT now blesses in Afghanistan,  Philip Weiss

Earlier today we did a post about a New York Times piece generally approving “targeted killing” as a means of advancing the project in Afghanistan. Targeted killing “has turned out to work well.” And never was heard a discouraging word.  We mentioned a State Department report on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, from 2004. Our source sent it along to us. The Times ought to have a look at it.
‘NYT’ says ‘targeted killings’ are good U.S. tactic, with no mention of civilian deaths, Phil Weiss

This feels very 1969: Helene Cooper and Mark Landler in the Times, approve a new tactic in Afghanistan, better than counterinsurgency.
The Listening Post – Wikileaks’ and the media

This week on the Listening Post, we look at the commotion caused by Wikileaks’ latest leak and we analyse how this leak differs from the rest. We also have a report on Rupert Murdoch’s decision to charge for Times Online content.
Empire – Superclass

A new breed has emerged; they set the global agenda, ride on Gulfstreams and manage the credit crunch in their spare time. They are anything but elected; they are entrepreneurs and entertainers, media moguls and former politicians – the self-made super rich who are using their money to lay down a new set of global rules. So where did this new global aristocracy come from and who is keeping them in check? Is the world suffering from a global governance gap?
Muslim Schoolgirls and General Bad-Assery

Muslim school girls from St. Maaz high school practise [sic] Chinese wushu martial arts inside the school compound in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, July 8th 2008.

Finkelstein hits the silver screen

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

American Radical, the movie about Norman Finkelstein, showed at the Michael Moore film festival this weekend, in Michigan.

Lo, another Israel apologist on the NYT op-ed page!

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

The staying power of neocons is amazing. Here is Efraim Karsh, the man who denied the Nakba, who wrote that Palestinians were “driven” out in 1948 by their own leaders, is on the Op Ed page of the NYT today, writing that there are no reasonable Palestinians.

Koozie summarizes: “Article states that an online poll of Arabs shows that 70-something percent of them aren’t interested in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which the author than uses as a launching point to argue that Arabs are not, and never really have been, interested in the Palestinians’ plight.  It’s an interesting little trick.  One can make the more convincing argument that Arab society still cares very deeply about the Palestinians and that the Arab society is perhaps a little better at acknowledging b.s. (and we can all agree that the Peace Talks have delivered nothing but hot air) than Americans are and so have decided not to waste another iota of energy or time on what is in essence a diplomatic diversion.  Was it ee Cummings who wrote the line ‘there is some shit I will not eat?’”.

Israel to deport 100s of children (what say open-border neocons?)

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

Israel announced plans to deport 400 children of migrant workers, born in Israel, speaking Hebrew, the children of people came legally to do work that Israelis don’t want to do and Palestinians aren’t allowed to do.

It’s an ugly business, but, as Benjamin Netanyahu succinctly put it, there are “Zionist considerations” which trump any humanitarian ones.

The deportations must pose quite a dilemma for open borders advocates such as those at the Wall Street Journal.

On the one hand, the Journal’s editors believe that open borders are good—that the US should have not only legal immigrants but illegal ones as well. On the other hand, they believe that Israel is always right. Roughly the same goes for Commentary and the Weekly Standard, which have long smeared the most moderate of American immigration restrictionists as bigots and nativists.

I used to travel in these circles, and never once came across an immigration restrictionist who advocated the repatriation of the children of LEGAL immigrants. I can’t even imagine it. (Though of course I’m sure you can find some neo Nazis who take that position.) But when Netanyahu does it, will the Wall Street Journal praise, or condemn? The ideological contradictions are surging way over the red line.

Abunimah, Roy, Zoabi, Shehadeh, Finkelstein, Khalidi, Walker, Walt, Kinzer are among authors of lightning book on flotilla raid

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

“Midnight on the Mavi Marmara,” the lightning quick volume edited by Moustafa Bayoumi, from O/R Books, is now available. You can buy it here. Quite a lineup of authors, including Henning Mankell, who says:

“We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates … The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.”

CONTRIBUTORS: Ali Abunimah, Eyad Al Sarraj, Lamis Andoni, Omar Barghouti, George Bisharat, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Marsha B. Cohen, Juan Cole, Murat Dagli, Jamal Elshayyal, Sümeyye Ertekin, Norman Finkelstein, Neve Gordon, Glenn Greenwald, Arun Gupta, Amira Hass, Nadia Hijab, Adam Horowitz, Rashid Khalidi, Stephen Kinzer, Iara Lee, Henning Mankell, Paul Larudee, Gideon Levy, Alia Malek, Lubna Masarwa, Mike Marqusee, Yousef Munayyer, Ken O’Keefe, Daniel Luban, Kevin Ovenden, Ilan Pappé, Doron Rosenblum, Sara Roy, Ben Saul, Adam Shapiro, Raja Shehadeh, Henry Siegman, Ahdaf Soueif, Raji Sourani, Richard Tillinghast, Alice Walker, Stephen M. Walt, Philip Weiss, and Haneen Zoabi.

Kill an Arab, any Arab, is longstanding and unquestioned policy

Posted: 02 Aug 2010

A barely-noticed incident gives occasion for reflection into the grossly skewed nature of the I/P conflict.

A rocket launched from Gaza reached the city of Ashkelon, causing some property damage but no injuries. Israel responded by launching airstrikes at various targets in Gaza, killing one Hamas official named Issa al-Batran. Hamas was not suspected of launching the Ashkelon rocket, but the IDF explained its retaliation against Batran: “The IDF holds the Hamas terror organization solely responsible for the occurrences in the Strip and for maintaining calm there.”

So Israel’s rule of engagement is that any incident of violence directed at Israel from an Arab community may be answered by a lethal attack on an official of that community, regardless of whether there is any suspicion of the official’s personal responsibility for the act against Israel. The idea is that the leadership of a community is not only “responsible . . . for maintaining calm” among the entire populace, but that any random official could pay with his life for a breach of calm that he neither planned, carried out, or was aware of.

Let us imagine Palestinians employing the same rule.

If an IDF soldier, or a settler, committed a single aggressive act against a Palestinian, even if there were no resulting injuries, Hamas would be entitled to assassinate any IDF officer (and perhaps any Israeli official – the Minister of Transportation, or Education?) for failure to prevent the attack. Practically, of course, such retaliation is unthinkable, due to the overwhelming imbalance of power. Palestinians simply do not have the capability of killing any Israeli target. But the question here is one of law and morality, and random assassination of an Israeli official or even IDF officer for a settler’s attack would be indefensible.

It gets worse. The Israeli assassination of Batran is not an isolated or anomalous example of transferred responsibility. To the contrary, it represents the mildest and least objectionable form of Israel’s longstanding practice. At least the victim here actually was a Hamas official, and indeed was apparently a bomb-maker, though not responsible for the rocket projected toward Ashkelon. Israel, however, has been consistently using the same rationale for collective punishment attacks against civilian populations for decades: in Qibya in 1953; in southern Syria and Lebanon following the Munich Olympics incident of 1972; in Lebanon in 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006; in Gaza 2008-2009.

And this is just a very small sample. A truly exhaustive catalog of Israel’s deliberate lethal attacks against civilians would fill many volumes. David Hirst’s book, The Gun and the Olive Branch, is a good place to start. Israel’s policy of treating any aggressive act by any Arab as a justification for revenge attacks on other Arabs is so deeply ingrained in international discourse that this latest incident barely hits the radar screen. “Only” one person, an actual Hamas official, was killed, although a dozen others were injured.

No one questions the morally repulsive nature of the policy of treating Arabs as fungible objects who need not be distinguished from each other in matters of life and death and criminal responsibility. What happens when grievances against Israeli policy give rise to lethal attacks against random Israelis? It is called by its proper name: terrorism.

Excitement builds over US boat to Gaza

Posted: 02 Aug 2010  

On Thursday this week, the group that is planning a US boat to Gaza is having a sunset cruise in New York harbor to raise money. There is a lot of excitement about the boat (the evolved Times ledeblog has covered it), and so the cruise is almost sold out, 400 passengers. Look at the list of people who are behind the US boat. Phyllis Bennis, Leslie Cagan, the Corries, Russell Banks, Anna Baltzer, Rashid Khalidi, Donna Nevel, Felice Gelman, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Judy Walker, Alice Walker, Noor Elashi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Iara Lee. Good people.

“It seems to me like this is what many many people have been waiting for, all around the country,” Gail Miller says. “People are so eager to be part of this.” Just Friday night, a party raised $4,000 in Woodstock.

The goal is to raise $360,000 to buy a boat and put 40 to 60 Americans on it in the next big push of international boats in September or October. There are rumors that Iker Casillas, the amazing Spanish goalie who reportedly expressed outrage over the siege even in the midst of the Spanish victory, and Rafael Nadal, will also be on that flotilla.

I met Laurie Arbeiter, who is working day and night on the boat, and as she spoke about the struggle to find the boat, it reminded me of the opening chapters of Exodus, when the Zionists are acquiring a boat and hiding it in Cyprus. (I’ve always felt that non-Zionism among Jews mirrors the liberation ideals of the Zionists– when they were responding to European persecution, though sadly ignoring the Palestinian reality.)

The boat idea got going right after the flotilla when Adam Shapiro and Ann Wright addressed All Soul’s Church in New York. Then when Arbeiter went to the US Social Forum in Detroit last month she bought some black pails and taped US Boat to Gaza on the sides and passed them around. Within a day or so she had $2000 in the pails. There were two young girls from Gaza there, about 10 and 11 years old, touring the country (can someone supply me names and ages?) to raise awareness about the crushing conditions in that open-air prison.

The girls each put in $40.

People ran after the girls and said, No no no, you keep this money! But the girls turned on the organizers and said, No, you keep this money. Do you know how important it is to us that people come to Gaza and see what we are experiencing?

That is what I saw in Gaza: the people are desperate to be known. (And the moral leadership provided by Palestinian children is also the lesson of Fida Qishta’s film about Gaza.)  

Below is a note from Laurie Arbeiter on the importance of the boat, and below that, the appeal from the organizers:

First I think that it is important to note that the name of the boat, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, has captured the imagination of people all over the country because the phrase succeeds in expressing the political will and collective desire to challenge the U.S./Israeli alliance… In order to challenge such a stronghold on power held by governments that have this much military might it requires audacious nonviolent acts such as the freedom flotilla sailing to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

It requires us to face the facts of the blockade head-on, placing ourselves in the presence of an illegal criminal regime, asking ourselves to have the courage to face a condition constantly being faced by the Palestinian people living under occupation and siege. 

Gaza is an open-air prison, without a doubt, when you consider that the definition of a prison camp is a place where people and goods cannot go or come without the say so of the guards — in this case Israel. One can argue whether the guards are nice guards or mean guards — or the prisoners well treated or poorly treated. But there can be no argument that Gaza is a prison for 1.5 million people who are being collectively punished. The mission of the flotillas is to sail to the walls of the prison and demand that they be taken down.

Also the U.S. government has sent and continues to send boats to that region carrying aid, only it is military aid. This will be a U.S. boat carrying a U.S. delegation with the message that the U.S. government has treaty obligations to obey universal human rights and international law and therefore it must stop all military aid to Israel, a country whose government has abused power and committed war crimes.

And here is an excerpt of the boat appeal:

This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege…

We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/ October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rights project, we need significant financial support.

Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation.


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