Report finds US policy toward Israel/Palestine contradicts American values

Report finds US policy toward Israel/Palestine contradicts American values

Sep 03, 2010 

Adam Horowitz

In April the American Friends Service Committee organized an important daylong mock Congressional hearing on whether US foreign policy towards Israel/Palestine upholds American values. The organizers explain:

Rather than wait for Congress to debate the morality and utility of U.S. policy towards Israel and Palestine, we decided to hold an independent hearing, calling upon people who have directly experienced or witnessed the effects of the occupation to tell their stories. We invited Israelis, Palestinians and Americans to testify and assembled a distinguished panel of listeners, composed of academics, clergy and a Senate staff member, to question and draw out the ramifications of these testimonies. We sought to lift up the voices and hopes of those people who are never seen on television or discussed with compassion in Congress.

They have just released a 29-page report on the conference findings to coincide with the resumption of US-led talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In an AFSC press release Middle East Program director Miryam Rashid says, “We feel this report is critical reading for all who are concerned about finding a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. American values are not being upheld in our government’s policies in Israel and Palestine, and the reality is that negotiations will only succeed when human rights and international laws are no longer ignored.”

Here’s the report:


Honored speaker at Bard College derides Muslims’ praying habits and sniggers at First Amendment

Sep 03, 2010 

James North and Philip Weiss

In two weeks Bard College is staging a lecture in New York by New Republic editor Martin Peretz. You have to wonder how appropriate this is given Peretz’s latest rant against Muslims and the First Amendment. 

Peretz’s anti Arab-racism is by now well known and an embarrassment even to the staff of his own magazine. But even those used to his rants were surprised yesterday when they opened his latest contribution to his blog, “The Mosque is in trouble,” at first thinking it was a parody by a hostile critic. Indeed, his attack on Muslims recalls similar attacks on Jews, in which anti-Semites talked all about the things the Jews do and don’t do when they’re praying.

The State of New York has no need for more mosques, since there are plenty of them. Furthermore, Muslims living in New York do not frequent their mosques on a daily basis; usually they go to them either on Saturdays or on Sundays, due to the nature of their work. Therefore, there is no real need for the building of the Cordoba Mosque; especially as the project has already provoked the sentiments of Americans, by reminding them of the attacks on 9 September, 2001, the Islamic conquest of Spain, as well as the tragic consequences of Islamic imperialism in general.

September 9?

[Since corrected, but] That’s not the only sloppy bit. What about his claim that that the community center was originally named Cordoba to be “confrontational and provocative,” as a sign of Muslim triumphalism and the conquest of Spain? In fact, it was almost certainly named Cordoba because medieval Spain under Cordoba was a great center of learning and relatively tolerant toward Jews. Maimonides lived there then.

(Mondoweiss readers, please check out Peretz’s post and help us enumerate the errors.)

And the crack at the First Amendment?

In my view, the really modest struggle against the mosque is probably the closest thing we’ve had to a genuinely grass roots effort against the casual and elitist First Amendment fundamentalists.

Wait. We care about the First Amendment. That’s what this struggle is all about, separation of church and state. The authors of this post don’t want to pray in a mosque but we will fight for the right of others to do so. Casual and elitist?

Armed settlers steal 35 acres of Palestinian land but U.S. pressures Abbas to lie back and think of England, and

Sep 03, 2010 


And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Source: Abbas under U.S. pressure to continue talks even if settlements expand
Even if the PA agrees that some settlement blocs will remain in Israeli hands in a future agreement, Abbas cannot agree to a continuation of construction during direct talks, says a senior source.
Israeli Settlers Take Over Palestinian Owned Land In Northern West Bank
Nablus – PNN – Israeli armed settlers attacked on Friday morning the village of Qaryit and took over 130 Donums of farmers lands.
Qaryit is a small Palestinian village near the southern West Bank city of Nablus. The village is surrounded by two Israeli settlements, Shilo and Aliyah.  Local sources said that the settlers using a bulldozer uprooted olive trees after they took control of the lands. In addition the settlers attacked Palestinian cars driving on nearby road, damage was reported but no injuries.
Settlers: “We Are Building” All Over West Bank
The talks are being held despite Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. On Thursday, the head of the West Bank settlers council, Naftali Bennett, declared an end to Israel’s partial settlement freeze and vowed to continue building.
U.S. gives Israel green light to build in 57 West Bank settlements
As de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas ventures into futile negotiations with Israel, the U.S. has given Israel the green light to resume construction in 57 Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Israeli sources said, despite the alleged decision to freeze settlement activity until September 26.
Netanyahu allies lobby U.S. to support more settlements, SHEERA FRENKEL
Danny Dayan, a settler leader and member of the Yesha Council, the lobby for the settler movement in Israel, was meeting Jewish and congressional leaders in Washington to try to convince them of the importance of expanding Israel’s settlements.
Justice Deferred: Upholding the ICJ Ruling, Jamal Juma’
Palestinians have struggled against Israel’s Wall in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for the past eight years. In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed that the Wall and Israel’s occupation regime were in violation of international law.
Behind the Israeli Wall: A Lesson in Reality, Ramzy Baroud
Writers often romanticize their subjects. At times they even manipulate their readers. A book – or any piece of writing for that matter – is meant to provide a sense of completion. Sociological explanations are offered to offset the confusion caused by apparent inconsistency in human behavior. At times a reader is asked to take a stance, or choose sides. This is especially true in writings which deal with compelling human experiences. In Behind the Wall: Life, Love and Struggle in Palestine (Potomac Books, 2010), Rich Wiles undoubtedly directs his readers, although implicitly, towards taking a stance. But he is unabashed about his moral priorities and makes no attempt to disguise his objectives.
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Pakistan: Dozens killed in pro-Palestinian rally
Suicide bomber kills at least 43 Shiite people expressing solidarity with Palestinian people in city of Quetta.,7340,L-3949003,00.html
Scores killed in suicide attack on Pakistan shia rally
At least 43 people were killed and 80 injured in a suicide attack targeting a Shia Muslim rally in Pakistan’s southwest city Quetta. Police on Friday said the bomber was among the 450-strong crowd and detonated on reaching the main square in the city, triggering chaotic scenes, with people setting fires as others fled or lay on the ground to avoid ongoing gunfire. The bomb appeared to target the rally being held for Al-Quds day, an international event held every year by the Shia community, opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem and showing solidarity with Palestinian Muslims. It is the second time this week the Shia minority has been targeted with a deadly attack. Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazely reports.

Two Arrested, At least A Dozen Injured During West Bank Anti Wall Protests
This week, anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, in the central West Bank, and the village of Al Ma’sara, in the southern West Bank.
Thousands of Palestinian refugees protest PNA-Israel talks near Damascus
DAMASCUS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — Some 4,000 Palestinian refugees demonstrated against the direct negotiations between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel on Friday in Yarmouk refugees camp near Damascus.  The protestors who marched on Yarmouk street, waved Palestinian flags, chanting slogans which call for resistance to end up the ” Israeli occupation” of the Palestinian territories.
Iranians mark Quds Day in support of Palestinians
The Iranian people marched to the street Friday in support of the Palestinians as Israel and the Palestinian National Authority restarted direct talks in Washington after such negotiations were halted 18 months ago.  Hundreds of thousands of Iranians across the country rallied on the Quds Day, the last Friday of Ramadan, to demonstrate their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn the continued Israeli occupation.
Why Israel imprisoned my best friend
And just as Israel has gradually increased restrictions of where we can go, the boundaries of what is permissible to do as a Palestinian have narrowed markedly. We have reached a point where peaceful protest is unacceptable to the Israeli state and military legislation has been constructed to criminalize and throw in jail anyone who dares to publicly voice dissent. Mohammed Khatib comments.
“Solidarity with the entire Palestinian people”
The BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights recently published Rights in Principle — Rights in Practice, which examines a rights-based approach to crafting durable solutions for Palestinian refugees. The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof interviews BADIL director Ingrid Jaradat Gassner on the organization’s work and the new book.
Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack tells William Parry why he is boycotting Israel.
The movement for a cultural boycott of Israel in response to its treatment of the Palestinians, modelled on the boycott of apartheid South Africa, could eclipse decades of disingenuous political charades in engaging western intellectuals, academics and artists. Internationally renowned figures such as Naomi Klein and Ken Loach have supported the call, and now one of Britain’s most successful bands, Massive Attack, is publicly backing the boycott.
Israel academics snub settlements
More than 150 Israeli academics say they will stop working in Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank.
Churches standing up to ‘pro-Israel’ politicians, Antony Loewenstein
AJN – Church vs StateThe Australian Jewish News (AJN) was outraged. Its editorial in late July condemned the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) for a resolution calling on Australians to boycott Israeli goods made in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The AJN wrote that the move contributed to a global campaign to ‘delegitimise’ Israel and lent ‘credence to the perception of an apartheid state.’
Activists prepare for new Gaza aid flotilla
PRECAUTIONS are being taken in case of an Israeli attack against a second ‘freedom flotilla’ to Gaza that is expected to include an Irish boat and up to 50 Irish people.  Ships travelling as part of the previous flotilla were stormed in May by Israeli commandos while they were in international waters en route to Gaza. Nine people were killed.  Plans for a second flotilla are being developed and yesterday a coalition of seven pro-Palestinian groups in Ireland launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a ship. The Irish aboard will be made up of activists, journalists and politicians.  Dr Fintan Lane, who travelled on the first flotilla and is spearheading the project, said: “We will have a support team in case anything happens. If people are kidnapped again, we will have the provision to communicate with families.”
“American Radical” Norman Finkelstein: Israel losing PR campaign
In an exclusive interview with RT’s Marina Portnaya, American-Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein takes on his critics, and accuses the US of coddling Israel, while undermining Brazil and Turkey. The outspoken Palestinian supporter is lobbying to speak at the United Nations, to promote progress for a Middle-East Peace Process.
A request from Matan Cohen: Please distribute widely, and consider helping financially
Dear friends,   On 19 November, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled against me in the lawsuit regarding my injury during a protest in the West Bank in February, 2006. (I was shot, together with 14 others, with several bullets, one of which hit my eye, and partially blinded me).   See    Not only that, the judge also ruled I pay some 78.000NIS (20k) incompensation, as they deemed it a “frivolous lawsuit.”  I did not expect justice from an apartheid regime, nor did I receive any. Still we must use whatever means are available to us even in this corrupt system to fight this fine.   As we stand to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, in the next 10days, we urgently require 30.000NIS ($9k)- the deposit demanded for the appeal.  If we don’t have it in the next few days, we won’t be able to appeal. What is requested right now is a bridge-loan, as we have some money the Israeli Army is withholding, and we expect to receive in the nextfew weeks, at which point the loan could be repaid.  While feeling down personally at the moment, this case only reaffirms my belief that It’s up to all of us to put an end to it.  In solidarity, Matan   ***For those who wish to make a contribution, money can be wired to: Poalim Bank (12), Raanana branch (661), account 584364, account holdername: Ronnie Barkan.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Israel Continue To Violate Right To Education In Palestine
A report by the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that Palestinian students are routinely denied the right to education due to the Israeli occupation.
Gazans just want the electricity to stay on
GAZA // When it comes to the restart of direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, Mohammed Adnan has learned his lesson.  For him, talks between the two sides represent a roller coaster of hope and disappointment that he no longer wants to ride. Like many Gazans, his concerns primarily centre on restoring life in this densely populated, destitute strip of land to a sense of normalcy.
Is the World Bank deliberately concealing disappointing West Bank economic “growth” figures?, Ali Abunimah
At the time the source told me that what we’d probably see as a result is the World Bank and PA emphasizing the overall growth figure, rather than dwelling on disappointing results in the West Bank — where a huge politically-motivated aid effort has been aimed at shoring up the Israeli-backed collaborator regime of Mahmoud Abbas and illegally-appointed “prime minister” Salam Fayyad.
`Facebook Arabs` speak out
“She took pictures with us, one by one. When the soldier approached me and while she was taking pictures I felt like she was getting very close to me. I felt sexually assaulted because she was touching my leg, neck and back in a provocative way. Then more soldiers came, started to mock us and insult us with crude remarks. They started to beat me. I asked to go to the bathroom. One of the soldiers took me. I was unable to go from the fear.”
Soldier: Major called me ‘annoying nigg*r’
IDF private petitions court, demands dismissal of senior officer over racial slur.,7340,L-3948542,00.html
Israeli Occupation Forces violence against Palestinians and child detainees/Provocations
Israeli Shin Bet electrocuted child prisoners to extract confessions
Following a visit yesterday to some young prisoners being held at the Megiddo Prison, lawyers for the Ministry of Detainees have stated that the young prisoners testified under oath that they had been interrogated and systematically electrocuted and tortured by Israeli intelligence officers in settlements near to Palestinian cities.  According to Salim Redouane who was arrested near Qalqilya on 08.05.2010, he was kept in a camp near Tzofin for 3 hours before being transferred to the settlement of Ariel where he was questioned by Shin Bet interrogators. His head was repeatedly hit against the prison room wall in an effort to get him to confess and he was beaten severely. The investigators threatened to burn his skin if he did not confess to the accusations against him.
Abuse of Palestinian children in detention: Palestinian and Israeli organisations write to Netanyahu
[2 September 2010] – Today, DCI-Palestine, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) have written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressing deep concern over continued reports of ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children who are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.  Each year, approximately 700 Palestinian children from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted in Israeli military courts, and reports of ill-treatment and torture are common place. Out of a sample of 100 sworn affidavits collected by lawyers from these children in 2009, 69 percent of the children reported being beaten and kicked, 49 percent reported being threatened, 14 percent were held in solitary confinement, 12 percent were threatened with sexual assault, including rape, and 32 percent were forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.
**Action Alert: Stop Israel’s Abuse of Palestinian Children
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition calls on all its members, supporters and people of conscience to contact the White House to demand that the Obama administration direct the Israeli leadership, currently in Washington DC, to immediately release and end to the systematic and institutionalized abuse of all Palestinian children in Israeli prisons in accordance with international law. The US government, which supports Israel to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars a year while most ordinary Americans are suffering in a very bad economy, is bound by its laws to cut off all aid to Israel until it ends all of its violations of human rights and basic freedoms in a verifiable manner.  To contact the White House, please use the online form at:  Alternatively write to:  President Barack Obama, The White House: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,  Washington, DC 20500.  Phone : 202-456-1414/ Fax: 202-456-2461. Letters in the US may be faxed online via: To contact your Representatives and Senators, go to:   House members can be reached through the Capitol switchboard toll free at: 1-877-331-2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-877-331-2000      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Please cc your correspondence to
Dura man says attacked by Israeli coworkers
HEBRON (Ma’an) — A Palestinian worker in Israel, from the southern West Bank town of Dura in the Hebron district, said he was attacked on Wednesday by his Israeli coworkers.  Mussa Muhammad Ekhrees, who was admitted to a Hebron hospital later in the day, said he was assaulted by his peers who were angered over the recent shootings of four Israeli settlers.  Four were killed in an attack claimed by Hamas’ armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades on Tuesday night, in a move said by the fighters to be a sign against the peace talks, launched on Wednesday in Washington.
Palestinian prisoners say assaulted by guards
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Supreme National Committee to Defend Detainees said prisoners in Israel’s Haredim prison were assaulted shortly after they began eating their iftar meal on Thursday.  A statement from the group said a phone call from prisoners reported a cell invasion as prisoners broke their fast, reportedly in an effort to locate mobile phones smuggled in by inmates.  The report said that guards ransacked several cells, destroyed the property of prisoners and insulted them.  Following the incident, the report continued, three prisoners were put in solitary confinement. They were identified as Rawhi Mishthi, Kamal Abu Na’im and Khamis Akel. Witnesses said they refused to cooperate with the cell check.
Rightists step up protest, burn Palestinian flags
Dozens of right-wing activists burn Palestinian flags near Jericho to protest talks, attacks.,7340,L-3948637,00.html
Settler Violence against Palestinians
Settlers throw rocks at Palestinian cars
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Dozens of settlers blocked roads leading to the West Bank city of Jericho and threw stones at Palestinian cars, witnesses said.  Locals said the settlers were protesting the killing of four Israelis in a drive-by shooting near Hebron on Tuesday evening. The attack was claimed by Hamas’ armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades.  Further, residents said Israeli soldiers installed checkpoints on the southern and northern entrances to the city to protect the settlers, and prevented Palestinians from escaping the attack.  An Israeli military spokeswoman said she would look into the incident.
Attack against Settlers
Israeli teen hurt as assailants pelt car with rocks in West Bank
12-year-old girl moderately hurt; ‘Our lives have been left unprotected and the defense minister is doing nothing’ says resident of the area.
PA arrests 2 in connection with terror attack
Two Palestinians involved in acquisition, sale of car used in Wednesday’s shooting attack among hundreds detained by PA.,7340,L-3948675,00.html
…Maybe they should be given house arrest, like Israelis do for Jewish terrorists: Court: Pearlman can leave house arrest to meet lawyer. 
The Petah Tikva District Court partially accepted an appeal filed by Haim Pearlman, who is suspected of killing four Arabs, and ruled against revoking his house arrest, but said he should be allowed to leave the house for meetings with his lawyer.,7340,L-3939170,00.html
Groups vowing more attacks
Hamas fighters threaten peace talks
Hamas fighters have threatened to launch a fresh wave of attacks against Israel to undermine ongoing peace talks that the group has described as “useless”. The announcement follows the first face-to-face talks in nearly two years between Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in the US capital. The two agreed to meet regularly to work out a framework for peace. But no sooner had the statements been made then they were quickly rejected by Palestinian factions vowing to fight on. Hamas said 13 different armed factions, including themselves and Islamic Jihad, would join forces to launch attacks against Israel. Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Gaza. [September 03, 2010]

Islamic Jihad calls for more attacks
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Islamic Jihad movement on Thursday praised the West Bank drive-by shootings, calling for further attacks, and denounced peace talks in Washington.  Speaking at a press conference in Gaza, Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh praised the two West Bank attacks which saw four Israelis killed and two injured in the 48 hours leading up to the resumption of peace talks in Washington on Thursday. The attacks were claimed by Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.  Al-Batsh called for resistance attacks to resume until all Palestinian territories are liberated.
Arabs Collaborating
Behind the scenes at the Washington peace summit
Arad shook Erekat’s hand, smiling broadly, while Molho fell upon the chief Palestinian negotiator with hugs and kisses, despite denials from the Prime Minister’s Bureau that the two had met in the past year.
Rights group condemns Hamas arrests
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned Thursday the ongoing arrest campaign by the Palestinian Authority against Hamas supporters in the West Bank since Tuesday’s attack in Hebron.  Four Israelis were killed in a drive-by shooting attack claimed by Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. The PA swiftly condemned the incident.  Since the attack at least 153 West Bank residents have been detained so far, including 45 residents of Hebron, according to information collected by PCHR field workers.
Hamas: 600 swept up by PA
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority has detained nearly 600 Hamas supporters and affiliates from across the West Bank, particularly from the Hebron region, a statement from the party said on Friday.  The statement said that some of the movement’s most prominent leaders were among those detained, alongside affiliates with the party and supporters.
PA official: Hamas will strike again [itching for another war on Gaza]
Commander in Palestinian security organizations says latest terror spree an attempt by Islamist group to disrupt peace talks, warns Hamas’ terror effort will increase as negotiations progress.,7340,L-3948741,00.html
The Saudi-Israeli alliance
“But more recently, the Saudis pressed Mr. Abbas to agree to the direct talks, using their financial aid to the Palestinian Authority as a lever.”
Egypt cancels visit by Iran FM for comments on peace talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had accused Arab leaders of ‘betraying their nations’ for attending relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington.
Arab League chief wants to give peace talks a chance (AFP)
AFP – The Arab League’s secretary general Amr Mussa said on Friday negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should be given a chance, but wondered whether Israel was ready for “real peace.”*
They called his grandfather a traitor
Even kids in Palestine know what he is up to: his grandson came to him crying and explained that children at his school had called his grandfather a “traitor“.
“Peace” Talks/Political Developments
Middle East peace talks open in US
Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, lauds Israeli and Palestinian leaders for taking ‘an important step’ for peace.
Mitchell: Bi-weekly Netanyahu-Abbas meetings to begin this month
U.S. envoy to Mideast says next round of talks scheduled for Sept. 14-15, likely to be hosted by Egypt.
PA: Israeli promises pliable
Palestinian officials unimpressed by optimistic statements at opening of Washington peace summit, say much is riding on Israel’s settlement policies. ”There is a vast difference between making promises, keeping them,’ PA source says.,7340,L-3948658,00.html
Hamas says talks illegitimate
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas said Thursday that Palestinians will not be bound by any peace agreement reached in Washington, a spokesman said.  As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas relaunched negotiations after a 20-month hiatus, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the talks were a “conspiracy against the cause” which the Islamist movement would continue to confront.  At a press conference in Gaza, Abu Zuhri said that Arab and international support for the talks was irrelevant, and that without the support of Palestinians the talks were illegitimate.
Marwan Barghouthi: Unity trumps peace talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an/Agencies) — Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti told Reuters that Palestinian infighting should be the current priority, and not peace talks, which he said were destined to fail.  In an article published Thursday, the Fatah member – well known for his political stance on unity between parties – Barghouti said he supported negotiation in principle, but explained via written response to Reuters questions that Palestinians had only agreed to direct peace talks now under foreign pressure.
Threat of new Palestinian uprising grows
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The killing of four Israeli settlers in the West Bank this week just before Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed in Washington has intensified fears the Palestinians could unleash a new intifada, or uprising.  Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu isn’t expected to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement building imposed under intense pressure from the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, and scheduled to expire Sept. 26.  The 200 settlements in the West Bank, where some 300,000 Israelis live, and the ever-expanding Jewish enclaves in East Jerusalem, where another 200,000 live, are a critical factor in the stop-and-start peace process that began in 1993.  The West Bank settlers’ leadership body, the Yesha Council, said Wednesday it will resume expanding their communities, whether the government ends the freeze or not, to protest Tuesday’s killings by Palestinian militants near the flash point city of Hebron.
Turkey: U.N. Panel Gets Report on Flotilla Raid
Turkey submitted its investigative report on Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla to a four-member United Nations panel on Thursday. Eight Turks and a Turkish-American citizen were killed in the raid on May 31, for which Turkey seeks an official apology and compensation for the relatives of the dead. The United Nations panel is to examine documents from Turkey and Israel and deliver its first progress report in mid-September, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said.
Other News
EC halts proposed data deal with Israel
The European Commission has halted a proposal to allow Israel access to potentially sensitive data on European Union citizens following concerns expressed by the Irish Government.
Muslims hold mass prayers at Jerusalem mosque (AFP)
AFP – Tens of thousands of Muslims poured into the heavily guarded Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem for the last Friday prayers of Ramadan as Palestinians protested over newly relaunched peace talks.*
Palestinians to fund renovation of Nativity Church (AFP)
AFP – The Palestinian Authority and Christian leaders on Thursday signed an accord to repair the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the traditional site of Jesus’s birth.*
Analysis of Peace Talks
Arab papers warn against talks: Abbas is weak
Arab world covers summit in Washington in pessimistic tone. ‘They’re not talking about Jerusalem. And what is Abbas cooking up? He doesn’t have mandate’,7340,L-3948967,00.html
Abbas agrees to fresh Israeli-Palestinian talks in Egypt, but has little support at home
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed today to meet again in two weeks. But Mr. Abbas has little support at home for the talks, even among allies.
Why most Palestinians don’t support Israeli-Palestinian talks – or another intifada
While Washington might be abuzz with the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks today after a nearly two-year hiatus, only 1 in 3 Palestinians support the negotiations according to a late August poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.
Why Israelis Don’t Care About Peace with Palestinians
Asked in a March poll to name the “most urgent problem” facing Israel, just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty. Israeli Arabs placed peace first, but among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls “critical for the world” just doesn’t seem – critical.
Settlers reveal deep disdain for events in Washington
Yaniv Mor, 30-year-old father of a one-month-old baby girl, and a settler was blunt: “We don’t care about Washington. Nothing will come out of it, like always. This is a war of religions – we want everything, they want everything. There is no way there will ever be agreement. That is the reality.”
Top 5 issues on the table for Israeli-Palestinian talks
These are the five most central issues that Israel and the Palestinian Authority need to address in the latest round of peace talks, which began Sept. 2.
‘We need peace talks, not photo ops’: Russia Today interview with Phyllis Bennis’
Israeli and Palestinian leaders are locked in their first direct peace talks for almost two years in Washington. Phyllis Bennis from the DC based Institute for Policy Studies – thinks the talks are useless unless Israel is held to account over its controversial settlements policy.
Well I’ve got a hammer! Washington Post, LA Times and NYT publish important Palestinian voices, Philip Weiss
The talks are surely a farce, but this is an amazing moment that we must celebrate: independent Palestinian voices are at last being heard in major American newspapers as a counter to the endless pro-Israel arguments. And they are speaking plainly to Americans about an American idea: equal rights.
Why Abbas’ Decision to Engage in Direct Talks With Israel Dooms the Prospect of Palestinian Reconciliation; No Signs of Hope, SALEH AL-NAAMI
The head of the Gaza government, Ismail Haniyeh, was very serious while dealing with the funeral of Major General Amin Al-Hindi, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council (FRC) and former chief of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) intelligence agency, who recently died in Amman. The residence in Hindi’s hometown in Gaza where his family held the wake received special attention from Haniyeh’s government, by assisting the family and providing a security force to protect VIPs who came to pay their respects. Haniyeh himself headed a large delegation from the Hamas government and leadership at the funeral.
An Interview With Naseer Aruri; Talking Peace on Israel’s Terms, ASHLEY SMITH
In late August, U.S. officials announced the resumption of “peace” talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). These talks are the latest stage in a so-called “peace” process, launched with the Oslo Accords, that began nearly two decades ago.  I talked with Naseer Aruri, author of Dishonest Broker: America’s Role in Israel and Palestine and Palestine and Palestinians: A Social and Political History, about whether these talks will achieve the long-deferred national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
Moving beyond peace processes past by Afif Safieh
The Obama administration has been persistent about the Middle East peace process. But is it serious about peace? If it is, and I believe that President Barack Obama is personally serious in spite of widespread skepticism among Arabs and Palestinians, then this administration needs to understand why its predecessors have failed.
America’s Faltering Search for Peace in the Middle East: Openings for Others?, Amb. Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
You have asked me to speak to current American policies in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the prospects for peace in the Holy Land. You have further suggested that I touch on the relationship of the Gulf Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia, to this.
Middle East peace talks: the history
The summit in Washington between Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas follows several previous attempts at peace.
At Mideast peace talk, a lopsided table, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley
Israelis and Palestinians will be sitting at the same table on Thursday, but much more separates them than the gulf between their substantive positions. Staggering asymmetries between the two sides could seriously imperil the talks.
‘Peace talks like Mexican soap opera’
NABLUS (Ma’an) — “We hope, we truly wish for a peace agreement, but to tell you the truth I’m not optimistic,” says 20-year-old Sundus, a student at An-Najah National University in Nablus, exemplifying the sentiment of the West Bank’s second largest city as talks start.  Today, Israel controls the US, she says, “so who will force Israel to accept a peace agreement?”
Other Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Fascism is already here, Yossi Sarid
If protesters didn’t exist, Netanyahu, Livnat and Sa’ar would have to invent them. After all, these figures are the last living proof of a democratic regime in Israel.
A response to Pfc. Benn; Those who force people to eat like animals are not on the strong side, Gideon Levy
Pfc. Aluf Benn spent his years in the army in the Military Police in Lebanon. Yesterday, with commendable courage, he revealed his military routines in these pages (“When I was Eden Abergil”).He handcuffed and blindfolded people countless times and led many detainees to their cages. He saw detainees eating like dogs, as he put it – crouching with their hands tied behind their backs – and smelled their sweat and urine.  Benn tried to argue that everyone did this, thousands of soldiers of the occupation army for generations, and that is why he was not shocked by the acts of soldier Eden Abergil. That is a twisted but frightingly banal moral explanation: Everyone does it, so it’s okay. I never saw aberrations, Benn wrote, immediately after describing the detainees’ horrendous doglike meal. The occupation did not corrupt me, he added later, without batting an eyelash.  Well then, my excellent editor and good friend, Aluf Benn, your article is unequivocal proof of how much you have been corrupted after all – and, more seriously, how unaware of it you are. You didn’t know and didn’t ask who the prisoners were and why they were detained that way. Even their crouching to eat in handcuffs was deemed by you, a soldier who read Uri Avnery in his youth, to be normal, not a monstrous moral aberration. But really, what can you expect from a young brainwashed soldier?

We’re dividing. Finally, Yitzhak Laor
The right wing’s self-righteousness that flooded the media did not succeed in blurring the clear fact: Ariel is a settlement, not an Israeli community.  Here are some characteristics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theater and the farce called “National Unity.” His government carefully respects the difference between Ariel and Kfar Sava. The winks from the stars of his comedy don’t confuse anyone. This government, just like all its predecessors, has never dared to abolish the difference between Ariel and Kfar Sava. They are there and we are here. But nobody is forbidding them to get into their cars, start the motor and come to a play in Tel Aviv, just as they come to work here. As opposed to their Palestinian neighbors, whose lands and water they took away, the settlers of Ariel at least have freedom of movement.

The Militarization of An Arab School in Israel
The families of the Arab-Druze students at the ONLY high school in the Beit Jann village in Israel will start their fight on Wednesday Sept. 1 2010 “a battle” against the militarization of their school and children by the Israeli Education Ministry. The inhabitants of Beit Jann suffer under harsh discrimination in the civil rights, social, economical, and financial development of their town when compared to the jewish squatter colonies, towns and cities which were established nearby on the land of Arab since 1948.  Beit Jann is a Druze village on Mt. Meron, in northern Israel. At 940 meters above sea level. Beit Jann is one of the highest inhabited locations in the country. In 2007, the population was 10,300.  Under these hard conditions of discrimination and inequality in their civil rights which the Arab inhabitants of  Beit Jann live, Israel intends to open a military air force class in the village and force the students who choose to learn physics, electronics and scientific subjects to enroll in the class of the Israeli Air Force. It is compulsory for every student to go to school wearing military uniform and to stand in the morning singing Israeli military songs and raising the Israeli flag.
Jewish director Julian Schnabel brings Palestine to Venice
Director talks of ‘responsibility’ to tell story of Middle East conflict in film Miral, told through eyes of two Palestinian women.  The American artist and film-maker Julian Schnabel said he felt a “responsibility” as a Jew to tell the story of Palestine when he opened his new movie at the Venice film festival.  Schnabel’s film Miral, competing with 22 others for the Golden Lion award, brought a note of seriousness to an event that sometimes veers towards the frothier side of culture.
Palestinians, Christians and Politics of Compassion, Dallas Darling
Even now as Presbyterian leaders prophetically issue statements calling for the U.S. to end its military aid to Israel unless Tel Aviv stops it settlement activities in occupied land that belongs to Palestinians, they might want to recall what Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer wrote in his book “The Politics of Compassion.” Nelson-Pallmeyer believed that most Christians and denominations in the U.S.-who by virtue of their affluence, power, privilege, and isolation-are not only entirely separated from the true biblical message, but isolated from the people in whom that message is most clearly embodied today. Clearly, it is the experiences of the poor and the oppressed, including their poverty, repression, forced migration, resistance, endurance, suffering, and hope, that better enables one to understand the Good News of salvation and liberation from unjust political, economic and social structures.(1)
Likud, Israeli Arabs, and the one-state solution, By Dmitry Reider
The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is on summer recess. It went out with a bang — the withdrawal of several privileges from Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, in retribution for her participation in the Gaza aid flotilla in May. The parliament is due to return to a stormier session still on October 3rd, with the deadline for the settlement construction freeze expiring just a week earlier and the two-state solution being put to what many believe may be its final test. The fate of the two-state process will likely be reflected in relations between Arabs and Jews in parliament — from suspicions of double loyalty to the beginnings on an unlikely agreement.
New McCarthyist quotes his mentors directly, Jesse Bacon
It is amazing to me how little the script varies from muzzle attempt to muzzle attempt, but this recent example shows remarkable fealty to muzzling’s rich history.  Josef Olmert, brother of former Prime Minister Ehud, is concerned about the BDS movement’s rise and potential for even greater growth on US college campuses. So how does he express this concern?
Palestinian Rep. Calls Yale Conference ‘Anti-Arab’
The U.S. representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization has accused Yale of hosting right-wing extremists at a recent conference on anti-Semitism.  The representative, Maen Rashid Areikat,wrote University President Richard Levin to protest the conference, titled “Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity,” which took place Aug. 23-25and included presentations from 110 scholars. In his letter, Areikat singled out three of them: a former Israeli military officer, the legal representative of an organizationthat monitors human rights groups, and the founder of a media watchdog organization.
Lebanon, Israel vow to avoid Blue Line scuffles
BEIRUT: Senior officers in the Lebanese and Israeli armies vowed to refrain from future Blue Line scuffles during an extraordinary meeting Thursday, which discussed the results of a probe into last month’s deadly clashes between the two.
Premier urges Lebanese to ‘preserve’ coexistence
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri called Thursday for preserving coexistence among sects in Lebanon.
“We live in a country with 18 religious sects – While the world witnesses contradictions and strife, we in Lebanon live in a different way – This is the true meaning of coexistence,” said Hariri during an iftar at his residence in Qoreitem.
Syria holds Lebanon Shiite cleric as suspected Israeli spy (AFP)
AFP – A Lebanese Shiite cleric known as a critic of Syrian-backed Hezbollah has been arrested in Syria on suspicion of spying for Israel, a high-ranking Lebanese security official said on Thursday.*
Sidon neighborhood changes its Jewish name in honor of Gaza
SIDON: A Sidon neighborhood referencing the Jewish people was renamed by locals in honor of the besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip on Thursday. Residents of the southern city of Sidon raised a metal sign that read “Haret Gaza,” Arabic for Gaza neighborhood, in an area known as “Haret al-Yahoud,” Arabic for neighborhood of the Jews.
Thursday: 11 Iraqis Killed, 9 Wounded
Violence remained fairly light today; however, at least 11 Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded across the country. Meanwhile, U.S. military advisers warn that the Iraqis must correct the inefficiencies of their armed forces if U.S. troops hope to withdraw next year.
Iraqi ministry official killed by gunmen
A senior finance official at the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education was killed by unknown gunmen in Baghdad on Thursday, and a soldier died in the south of the country defusing a bomb, DPA reported.
Poisoned Juice, Al Qaeda’s new weapon
Alsumaria News received a government document issued from Iraq Ministry of Interior warning that Al Qaeda organization is biding to bring into the country juice bottles that contain arsenic which is a poisonous fatal substance.
Iraq Sunni fighters fear US pullout
Al Qaeda has apparently found a new number one enemy in Iraq since the US fully ended its combat mission there on Tuesday. An armed group of Sunnis – known as Awakening Councils or Sahwa – say they have become the main target of attacks from Al Qaeda. The Sahwa, many of whom used to fight US-led coalition forces in Iraq before switching sides, took up arms against Al Qaeda late in 2006 until 2008 with the support and backing of the foreign troops. They have been credited with helping reduce violence across the country, but now many members of the group fear the consequences of the departure of US troops. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Baghdad, Iraq’s capital. [September 2, 2010]
UN refugee agency blasts Europe for deporting Iraqis
* Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden said to deport 61 Iraqis
* UNHCR says it 3rd round of forced returns since April
* Fears message it sends to Jordan, Syria which host 1.6 mln
The reckoning
“The biggest failure of all is political. Building a state with a democratic government and institutions that work was central to President George W. Bush’s vision of the new Iraq. The country has ended up with a travesty of good governance. Positions in the bureaucracy are awarded on the basis of family or sectarian allegiance rather than merit. Partisan interference so mars elections that no Western diplomat will call them “free and fair”. The watchdog Transparency International reckons that corruption is endemic.  More than anywhere else in the world, Sunnis and Shias still fear each other in Iraq. Trust even between moderates is minimal, and national reconciliation non-existent. Five months after inconclusive elections, Iraq still has no new government. Parties are deadlocked in negotiations. The most obvious coalition partners are the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, a moderate Shia whose block won 89 seats in the 325-member parliament, and Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister who is mainly supported by Sunnis and controls 91 seats. Yet the two men dislike and distrust each other so much that they rarely speak.”
Baghdad to Damascus, a road with no way back
Iraqis continue to flee their country, and though they long for home, many acknowledge returning is an impossible dream.
Martyrs in the Valley of Peace, ANTHONY SHADID
In the Cemetery of the Martyrs of the Army of the Imam Mahdi, death is not mourned. The men here have died as martyrs, and sacrifice is exalted.
Robert Fisk: Blair should take responsibility for Iraq. But he won’t. He can’t
Has this wretched man learned nothing? On and on, it went during his BBC interview: “I would absolutely…”,”I definitely…”, “I believed absolutely clearly…”, “It was very, very clear that this changed everything” – “this” being 11 September 2001 – “Let me state clearly and unequivocally”, “The Intelligence picture was clear…”, “legal justification was quite clear”, “We said completely accurately… “Because I believed strongly, then and now…”, “My definitive view in the end is…” You would have thought we won the war in Iraq, that we were winning the war in Afghanistan, that we were going to win the next war in Iran. And why not, if Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara says so.
The Audacity of Cynicism,  Elise Hendrick
Barack Obama’s Iraq speech – is an impressive entry in the annals of war propaganda. In it, he glosses over a criminal war as ‘a remarkable chapter’ in US history, and creates the false impression that the occupation of Iraq is over. He places the responsibility rebuilding a society out of the rubble we created on the shoulders of the Iraqi people.
U.S. and Other World News
US-led attacks kill 16 Afghan civilians
US-led forces in Afghanistan have killed at least 16 civilians over the past 24 hours, amid growing public rage over such attacks.
NATO kills ten Afghan civilians
Afghan officials, including the presidential palace, said 10 civilians were killed Thursday in a NATO airstrike on vehicles in northern Afghanistan, but the alliance said those killed were insurgents.
Gates Says U.S. Forces in Afghanistan for ‘Years’ to Come
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, described the U.S. mission there as “a long-term proposition.”
US must apologize for Yemeni’s arrest: diplomat
The United States must apologize for the wrongful arrest on terror charges of two Yemenis on Dutch soil and investigate how such a “mistake” was made, Yemen’s ambassador to The Hague said Thursday.

Iranians rally on al-Quds day
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses thousands in Tehran, saying that Middle East talks are doomed to failure.
90-year-old Saudi to get 100 lashes
A 90-year-old Saudi man will be lashed 100 times with the whip after he was convicted of smashing the windscreen of a judge’s car to retaliate against a previous verdict against him, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.  The court in the central town of Taif found the old man guilty of damaging the judge’s car while he was preaching at a local mosque during open-air Friday prayers, Sahafaonline Arabic language paper said.  The man told court that he had done so in reprisal for an earlier sentence against him by the judge, the paper said. “The court sentenced the man to 100 lashes and seven days in prison,” it added.
Egyptians react to Mubarak’s son in Israeli-Palestinian talks
The attendance and involvement of the son of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in the ongoing Middle East talks in Washington DC has raised speculation in Egypt over whether he will become his father’s successor. Opposition groups say Gamal Mubarak’s appearance in such high-level discussions is an attempt to boost his image as a potential leader, and many fear a presidential election could be rigged to grant him victory. Attempts to hand over power to him could trigger a major backlash and instability in the most populous Arab country. Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Cairo, Egypt’s capital, on reactions to his involvement in the talks. [September 2, 2010]
Activists promote Egypt’s spy chief for president
CAIRO: Activists hung posters across Cairo Thursday supporting Egypt’s intelligence chief as a candidate in next year’s presidential polls, the latest campaign to try to undermine a possible father-son succession in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Are Mubarak’s Gas Sales to Israel Partly to Blame?; The Politics of Power Cuts in Egypt, MOHAMED WAKED
Egypt has been suffering from an exceptionally hot summer, with record temperatures observed all over the country. The “terrible heat wave” mantra, thus, grew to become what is probably the most pressing issue in Egypt today. The advent of Ramadan obviously could only but emphasize this problem more, as people now have to fast through long and exceptionally hot summer days.
The Number One Religion in the U.S. May Be Egonovism, Not Christianity
The term “Egonovism” comes from the latin “ego,” meaning self, and “novo” to make new, rewrite, or invent. And it fits perfectly. The individual develops their own personal religions system and borrows ideas from established religions that they’re familiar with. Many Egonovists include the Christ figure in their religion, and hence they self-identify as Christians.
Islam in the U.S.
Across Nation, Mosque Projects Meet Opposition
As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”  “I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.

Messages Hope to Counter Rising Anti-Islamic Rhetoric
SAN DIEGO – Two new public service announcements released on Wednesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, are aimed at easing some of the tensions surrounding the debate over whether an Islamic community center should be built near Ground Zero in New York.  “Because of the so called Ground Zero Mosque, we’ve had a lot of negative backlash from it — anti-Muslim rhetoric,” explains CAIR spokesman Edgar Hopida. “So this PSA is meant to combat that and show we are very much a part of this society.
CAIR Video: U.S. Group Tries to Halt ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Anger
Standing Against Islamophobia, Again and Always
Within the next ten days, Jewish people will welcome a New Year, even as the holy Muslim month of Ramadan draws to a close. These are times of special significance for us, and yet these joyous occasions are marred by what is happening in the world around us. The so-called peace talks are beginning today under the shadow of ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine. In the United States, we are approaching the anniversary of 9/11, and the rising tide of manufactured bigotry against Muslims is reaching a new high.  As the peace talks begin, we condemn the murder of the four Israeli settlers last Tuesday in the occupied West Bank. Violence against civilians, any civilians, is never the answer.

Hear, O Israel– first the Pixies and Elvis Costello, now ‘Massive Attack’ says we won’t play Jim Crow

Sep 03, 2010 

Philip Weiss

New Statesman, a piece by Bill Parry, author of Against the Wall:

now one of Britain’s most successful bands, Massive Attack, is publicly backing the boycott.
“I’ve always felt that it’s the only way forward,” Robert Del Naja, the band’s lead singer, tells me when we meet at the Lazarides gallery in Fitzrovia, London…

“We were asked to play Israel and we refused,” he says. “The question was asked: ‘If you don’t play there, how can you go there and change things?’ I said: ‘Listen, I can’t play in Israel when the Palestinians have no access to the same fundamental benefits that the Israelis do.’ I think the best approach is to boycott a government that seems hell-bent on very destructive policies. And it’s sad, because we’ve met some great people in Israel, and it’s a difficult decision to have to make.”…

“We are not going to achieve a quick lib­eration,” Del Naja concedes, but says the point is to apply “pressure, the continual pressure that’s needed”….
“The boycott is not an action of aggression towards the Israeli people,” he says. “It’s towards the government and its policies. Everyone needs to be reminded of this because it’s very easy to be accused of being anti-Semitic, and that’s not what this is about.”

Omar Barghouti writes: “Of all the groups that have refused to perform in apartheid Israel or agreed but later cancelled, Massive Attack’s message… is by far the strongest, most principled and most morally coherent.”

On Al-Quds Day

Sep 03, 2010 

Roqayah Chamseddine

[Editor’s note: Today is Al-Quds Day, an international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people that is held annually on the last Friday of Ramadan.]

Al Quds – Jerusalem: The city of martyrs; the occupied city. A city painted a deep shade of crimson with the blood of the oppressed. A city occupied far longer than I have walked this earth; far long than my father has existed.

This city – I have never seen. Its air – I have never breathed. Its roads – I have never traveled.

I am a stranger at Jerusalem’s gate; I listen to the wailing passerby clutching the remnants of his home between scarred hands, his screams muffled under the background of a demolition. I hear a mother attempting to wash the blood off the ashen bodies of her children with bitter, scathing tears – the deafening sound of bullets boldly echoing within the confines of the occupiers jungle.

I am a stranger at Jerusalem’s gate; My eyes follow an army of worshipers kneeling on occupied ground, impregnated with their supplication, as they raise heavy hands up towards the sky. I watch a rampage emerging in the ‘holy land’ as a barrage of soldiers lay siege upon Al Aqsa, defiling sacred territory with a curtain of America-brand tear-gas canisters and grenades.

Ya Quds, Ya Qiblat as-Saleheen/ Oh Jerusalem, Oh Focus of the Righteous.

You are the perfume of the occupied territories, you are the fragrance worn around the necks of our women accompanied by a string of rocks from which our children use to throw in the face of occupation soldiers; precious pearls in their soft, dauntless hands.

Ya Quds/ Oh Jerusalem.

The thorns of conquest line your streets; our open wounds – inkwells, the gravestones of our martyrs – parchment.

What does Israel fear in the shouting of your name by the occupied youth? What does Israel fear in the acquisition of your stones?

They rejoiced at our abortion from your treasured womb; we cling to your soil as we yearn to feel our mothers touch, we cry to have you wrap us in your arms – even in death.

Jerusalem: This city – I have never seen. Its air – I have never breathed. Its roads – I have never traveled.

Bury me in your arms o’ Jerusalem. If I cannot have you in this life then give me 6 feet of earth wherein I can sleep close to your chest, listening to beating of your heart instead of the drums of war.

Ya Ummi/Oh Mother

I cannot bear to be away from you, an orphan child.

Oh Jerusalem: I am the stranger at your gate, I am the student at your chamber, I am the worshiper at your feet. 

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is a an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.

‘The Israel Project’ cuts Abbas out of the picture

Sep 03, 2010 

Jonathan Guyer

Two nights back I received the following email from The Israel Project (TIP) after a long day of watching the Middle East peace circus that has descended on Washington :

Subj: Netanyahu: “We Seek a Peace That Will Last for Generations”

· At White House dinner, Netanyahu tells Abbas, “You are my partner in peace”

· Netanyahu came to Washington to find “historic compromise”

· Netanyahu: “Peace must be defended against its enemies”

…. Abbas’s comments weren’t immediately available.

Of course, PLO Chairman Abbas delivered remarks at that very dinner but The Israel Project, a lobbying shop founded in 2002, wasn’t immediately interested in them. Why is TIP afraid of quoting Abbas alongside Netanyahu’s “yes we can” talking points?

For TIP, the substance of Abbas’ remarks is irrelevant. It’s more important to make it look as if the Palestinian interlocutor forgot to show up to dinner. Here is an excerpt of Abbas’ comments which TIP managed to miss:

It is time to make peace, it is time to end the occupation that began in 1967, and for the Palestinian people to achieve their freedom, independence and justice… We strongly condemned what happened yester day in Hebron . Also we condemned what happened today. We do not want any drop of blood to be shed neither from Palestinian nor Israelis. We want peace between our two peoples. We want to live as partners and neighbors. Let us sign a final peace agreement, and end, forever, a long era of conflict.

The Israel Project’s attempt to make Chairman Abbas appear wholly absent from the re-launch of negotiations is predictable. It’s part of the lobbying organization’s oft-repeated “Palestinian partner” narrative, which sounds something like, “the Israelis have no partner for peace so give ‘em a break.”

It’s difficult to make Netanyahu look like a genuine peace-maker; for TIP, the path of least resistance is to paint Abbas as a peace-rejectionist.

Another example of this: on Friday, August 20, when the White House first invited Israelis and Palestinians to the dinner talks, The Israel Project pulled a similar trick. TIP sent out a mass-mailing to journalists with the subject, “Correction: PA President Has Yet to Respond to U.S. Invitation for Direct Talks.”

It’s no huge surprise that PLO Chairman Abbas did not instantly issue a press release on a Friday during Ramadan. But beyond the common sense of why Abbas hadn’t RSVPed, The Israel Project failed to clarify exactly what they were “correcting.”

The note which they had blasted to journalists just an hour earlier boasted the headline, “Israeli PM Accepts U.S. Invitation for Direct Talks, PA President Remains Skeptical.” Perhaps TIP was only projecting their own skepticism as they neither quoted Abbas nor his office. TIP was either doing a shoddy job of reporting on the latest developments or distributing a press release that bordered on disingenuous.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of next steps on the peace-processing front. But here’s a tip for TIP – don’t play the blame game before the whistle has even been blown.

Meanwhile, The Israel Project wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Jonathan Guyer is an assistant editor of The Middle East Channel and a program associate, of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation.

‘Cookie monster, hubba hubba, inside out socks, and melted ice cream!’ (Revising George Will)

Sep 03, 2010 

Ahmed Moor

I learned recently that Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry is spending money, and I want some.

Ha’aretz reports that sixty to seventy million shekels will be funneled towards “hosting figures the ministry has identified as having significant influence on public opinion.” The article goes on to say that “the first step in that effort was seen in ministry involvement in coordinating Arianna Huffington’s visit to Israel.”

Cool. I think it’s a good strategy, except they’re targeting the wrong people. Take George Will for instance. He’s been tucked into Netanyahu in Jerusalem for a while now without getting a lot done. He’s not young, or hip, or – I hate to say it – coherent.

But this is about more than just age and Twitter, it’s also about race. The sorry fact is that I possess way more credibility on the issue than Will does. I get to talk about things from the “Palestinian perspective” which automatically deposits credibility points in my hasbara column.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m asking Yvet and company to hit me up with an offer. Pallywood pays pretty well (I hear Mohammed Dura made a killing), but those of us in the print media get locked out. It’s not very surprising if you think about it; Arabs are barely literate.

I don’t expect my munificent boys on the West West Bank to take me at my word (you’ve got to remember that “Palestinians” have a reputation for sliminess). Instead, I’ll offer up a sample of what I can do; I’m the one “Palestinian” who’s willing to work for a living!

I figured I’d rewrite one of George Will’s articles to give my potential bosses the best opportunity for an Uzi-to-Uzi comparison. There was a lot to like about this recent quasi-genocidal screed in the Washington Post, but Will is too cowardly, too cowed by the lunatic left to come right out and say what he means.

So here goes. My edits are in bold:

JERUSALEM ‘Twas a famous victory for diplomacy when, in 1991 in Madrid, Israelis and Palestinians, orchestrated by the United States, at last engaged in direct negotiations. Almost a generation later, U.S. policy has succeeded in prodding the Palestinians away from their recent insistence on “proximity talks” — in which they have talked to the Israelis through American intermediaries — and to direct negotiations. But negotiations about what? Let’s get serious: The so-called ‘Palestinians’ are an entomologically distinct class of cockroach. No one seriously talks about the rights that accrue to a cockroach.

Idle talk about a “binational state” has long since died, or rather, we intend to kill it. Even disregarding the recent fates of multinational states — e.g., the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, the former Czechoslovakia — binationalism is impossible if Israel is to be a Jewish state for the Jewish people. This is the key point. Israel must remain the Jewish state for the Jewish people. There are a few good reasons for this.

The Arabs supported Hitler. Many people don’t know this, but grand mufti Al Husseini was Adolf Hitler’s nanny. He literally fed Adolf Hitler milk from his teat. The whole of the Arab world knew about it and endorsed the practice.

The Arabs also never lived in Israel. For one reason or another, they avoided settling the fertile land. Perhaps they, like other animals, are compelled by unseen geomagnetic forces. Like the geese that fly south for the winter, the Arabs avoided the Jewish homeland and laid their eggs at least one-hundred miles away.

Let’s not forget that the Jewish people are smarter than the Arabs – just look at the number of Nobel prizes they’ve collected. It’s always been true that the smarter party possesses more rights. Just think of the way we treat people with cognitive deficiencies.

Jews are superior in another important way: God chose them. Reportedly, God and Netanyahu exchanged friendship bracelets. Additionally, no significant Israeli constituency disagrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: “The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel’s borders.” God doesn’t disagree, either. He would jeopardize his friendship with Netanyahu if he did!

Rhetoric about a “two-state solution” is de rigueur. It also is delusional and gay, given two recent, searing experiences.

The only place for a Palestinian state is the West Bank, which Israel has occupied — legally under international law — since repelling the 1967 aggression launched from there. Furthermore, cookie monster, hubba hubba, inside-out socks and melted ice-cream!

The West Bank remains an unallocated portion of the Palestine Mandate, the disposition of which is to be settled by negotiations between Netanyahu’s left and right cranial hemispheres. Yes, Netanyahu’s brain only communicates with itself through a third-party intermediary – that’s how awesome he is.

…[In Gaza] Twenty-one Israeli settlements were dismantled; even the bodies of Israelis buried in Gaza were removed. After a deeply flawed 2006 election encouraged by the United States

– I know what Jimmy Carter said, but Jimmy Carter’s an a*****e –

there was in 2007 essentially a coup in Gaza by the terrorist organization Hamas.

Lucky for Israel, the coup was against that other terrorist organization, Fatah.

So now Israel has on its western border, 44 miles from Tel Aviv, an entity dedicated to Israel’s destruction, collaborative with Iran and possessing a huge arsenal of rockets.

Rocket attacks from Gaza increased dramatically after Israel withdrew. The number of U.N. resolutions deploring this? Zero. That’s because the U.N. is full of a******s, too.

The closest precedent for that bombardment was the Nazi rocket attacks on London, which were answered by the destruction of Hamburg, Dresden and other German cities. When Israel struck back at Hamas, the “international community” was theatrically appalled. Screw the “international community.” I’ve always said, “Kill’em all and let God sort them out.” That’s if he’s not too busy rubbing Netanyahu’s stiff, tight, broad shoulders… exhaling softly on the back of his neck.

A senior cabinet member — Moshe Yaalon, strategic affairs minister and possible future prime minister — says “our withdrawals strengthened jihadist Islam,” adding, “We have the second Islamic republic in the Middle East — the first in Iran, the second in Gaza: Hamastan.” He also said that “if Barak Obama is reelected, we’ll have the first Islamic republic in the Americas: Obamistan.” Islam, if you don’t know, is a satanic death cult and Obama is a grand mufti.

…Because upward of a million immigrants have come from the former Soviet Union, today one-sixth of Israelis speak Russian. Israel has Russian-language newspapers and television. Russian Israelis are largely responsible for Avigdor Lieberman being foreign minister. Yoram Peri, professor of Israel studies at the University of Maryland, says these immigrants “don’t understand how a state that can be crossed in half an hour by car would be willing to even talk about relinquishing territories to its seemingly perpetual enemies.”

They also don’t understand how rainbows work, or why orange nailpolish isn’t in vogue.

These immigrants know that Russia’s strategic depth — space — defeated Napoleon and Hitler.

And her shapely curves, and strategic motion-of-the-ocean wooed Nixon.

…To prevent the importation of missiles and other arms, Israel would need, Netanyahu says, a military presence on the West Bank’s eastern border with Jordan. Otherwise, there will be a third Islamic republic, and a second one contiguous to Israel. And like I said, I hate Islam, and you should too.

So, again: Negotiations about what? I mean it. Where am I? What’s going on here? Negotiations about what? What are we talking about?  I’m scared of everything…

Well I’ve got a hammer! Washington Post, LA Times and NYT publish important Palestinian voices

Sep 03, 2010 

Philip Weiss

The talks are surely a farce, but this is an amazing moment that we must celebrate: independent Palestinian voices are at last being heard in major American newspapers as a counter to the endless pro-Israel arguments. And they are speaking plainly to Americans about an American idea: equal rights. 

The other day the New York Times ran Ali Abunimah on the centrality of Hamas to any discussion of the Palestinian future. 

Today the LATimes features an Op-Ed piece by Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, more prominently than Yossi Klein Halevi’s counterweight hasbara. And Tibi tells Americans of the right of return to stolen farms and houses.

no Palestinian negotiator I know of will bow before the Israeli demand — put forward only recently, but increasingly adamantly — that Israel be recognized as an exclusively Jewish state.

This is an unreasonable demand, as it requires Palestinian negotiators to relegate more than 1 million Palestinian citizens of Israel to an inferior standing. Already, there are more than 30 Israeli laws that serve to discriminate against Palestinians. Abbas cannot be expected to sign off on such an injustice. Not only would he be consigning Palestinian citizens of Israel to second-class citizenship, he would be stripping away the right of return from Palestinian refugees who long to return to homes and farms stolen from them 62 years ago.

The only way out of the impasse is for Jews to recognize Palestinians as their equals and negotiate with them on that basis. A fair two-state solution requires the abrogation of all laws, both in Israel and the occupied territories, that raise Jews above Palestinians.

Yesterday the Washington Post Op-Ed page– managed by my old friend Fred Hiatt, a true liberal notwithstanding the neocons garrisoning Washington for two decades– ran an important piece on the talks by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley. The piece all but predicted the talks’ failure, because the power differential between the Israelis and the P.A. is so crushing, and lamented that in the fallout, Palestinians were likely to be blamed for “obstinacy,” and the atmosphere “poisoned.”

And today? The Washington Post has printed a thrilling one-state argument by George Bisharat that includes the revolutionary-in-D.C. statement that the two-state solution has become “unrealistic”:

Israeli perspectives are already beginning to shift, most intriguingly among right-wing leaders. Former defense minister Moshe Arens recently proposed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Israel annex the West Bank and offer its residents citizenship. Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin and Likud parliamentarian Tzipi Hotovely have also supported citizenship for West Bank Palestinians, according to the Haaretz. In July, Hotovely said of the Israeli government’s policies of separation: “The result is a solution that perpetuates the conflict and turns us from occupiers into perpetrators of massacres, to put it bluntly.”

Is one of these politicians the Israeli de Klerk? That remains to be seen. Gaza is pointedly excluded from the Israeli right’s annexation debate. They still envision a Jewish state, simply one with a larger Palestinian minority. But their challenge to the two-state orthodoxy, which empirical experience has proven unrealistic, is healthy.

If Americans aspire to more than managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via perpetual and inconclusive negotiations, we should applaud this emerging discussion. Having overcome our own institutionalized racial discrimination, we can model the virtues of a vibrant, multicultural society based on equal rights. President Obama, moreover, would be a fitting emissary for this vital message.

Our world is rocking. If this is not a one-off, if it keeps up for the next year, Americans’ views could change dramatically, and the evening news would start to play up the brutal Palestinian conditions and show Americans what it means to get 1/26th of the water that illegal colonists get. I should also praise Lourdes Garcia-Navarro for her humanizing reports from Gaza on NPR (even her get-the-other-side piece from Israel managed to include the horrifying dystopian description of remote-controlled machine guns on the border of the Strip, controlled by Israelis at computers).

Certainly the left will start to shift if Americans get this sort of fare on a regular basis. And maybe Chuck Schumer will be paid back for urging the “strangulation” of the Gazans. Tell me this is not a real sign that a compelling Palestinian argument, all people are created equal, is starting to break through to Americans.

And believe me, if Palestinians see that at long last their simple argument for self-determination is at last heard in the American capital, that they finally have a partner for gaining rights that Americans have taken for granted for years, this will transform their political culture.

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