Jul 13, 2010

Mondoweiss: Israel (inadvertently) admits it broke law in raiding flotilla



Israel (inadvertently) admits it broke law in raiding flotilla

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 11:31 AM PDT

With a Libyan aid ship perhaps trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza, Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a warning to the IDF not to stop the ship in international waters, Haaretz reports.

The Foreign Ministry advised the defense establishment yesterday to wait until the Libyan aid ship reportedly headed for Gaza approaches or enters the coastal strip's territorial waters before making any attempt to stop it. The ministry made the recommendation to avoid the risk of breaking international law.

That warning is an implicit admission that when Israel attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, it broke international law.  Before the Israeli Navy raided the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship was in international waters, 85 miles west of Haifa, according to this Ali Abunimah blog post.

After the flotilla attack, Craig Murray, an expert in maritime law, had this to say about the Israeli raid:

A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

Surprisingly truthful 'Fox News' report on Jerusalem

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 09:36 AM PDT

Watch the latest video at

"Why Palestinians Can't Buy Land." Fox's Reena Ninan interviews the director of Ir Amim, Yudith Oppenheimer, and is told to [expletive deleted] by Jlem mayor Nir Barkat. 

Why I'm voting for Eisenhower over Obama

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 09:01 AM PDT

Below is a riveting story about Eisenhower and Ben Gurion. But first a comment.

If you read the history of the special relationship, the same patterns of political pressure exerted by the Israel lobby to nullify national policy re Israeli expansionism that we see today with Obama's capitulation on Jerusalem and the West Bank occurred 50 and 60 years ago over other borders-- Partition's and Egypt's-- and the return of the refugees, too. And the resistance to this simple political understanding on the left is one of our greatest obstacles to doing anything about it in the U.S. discourse, indeed why the same story has repeated itself over and over for decades of Palestinian dispossession.

The story about President Eisenhower's insistence that Israel withdraw from Egypt, which it had invaded in 1956, comes from The Passionate Attachment (1992) by the late George W. Ball, a former Under Secretary of State, and Douglas Ball. Eisenhower was of course a Republican; which brings up one more point about the discourse on the left: I grew up in a Democratic household, being told that John Foster Dulles was a bastard and maybe an anti-Semite, too. In fact, his position below is a stirring one; but I have had to overcome a lot of cultural/political programming to say as much.

Jewish American organizations tried hard to generate congressional resistance to Eisenhower's position. On February 1, [1957] Senator William Knowland, the Republican minority leader, protested to [Secretary of State John Foster] Dulles against the administration's stand. Knowland agreed that the policy might be right in theory, but pointed out to Dulles the domestic political implications and threatened to revolt. Dulles answered Knowland by noting, "We cannot have all our policies made in Jerusalem," and he justified the American position on the following grounds:

"First, sanctions would be necessary to compel Israel's withdrawal and a withdrawal was needed to maintain the American position among the Arabs...

"[Second] I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews. [Former sec'y of state under Truman George] Marshall and [first Defense Secretary James V.] Forrestal learned that. I am going to try to have one.

"That does not mean I am anti-Jewish, but I believe in what George Washington said in his Farewell Address that an emotional attachment to another country should not interfere."

On February 20, Eisenhower called a meeting of the congressional leadership. When the lawmakers, ever sensitive to the pro-Israeli lobby, refused to help, Eisenhower resorted to television that same night.

Eisenhower did more than talk. He issued an ultimatum to Ben Gurion to pull Israel's forces back to the Israeli border. He also laid plans with Dulles that, if the Israelis did not comply, the United States would cut off the flow of all aid to Israel, including not only development assistance but technical assistance and shipments of agricultural products under Public Law 480. He would also delay the disbursement of an already arranged Export-Import Bank loan and terminate all forms of military assistance, including those in the pipeline. He canceled export licenses for the shipment of munitions or other military goods. Finally, he ordered Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey to draft a change in U.S. tax regulations so that the Jewish American organization benefactors would no longer be entitled to a federal income tax deduction for contributions that benefited Israel.

In spite of further efforts by Israel's supporters to deflect White House pressure from the Jewish state, Eisenhower did not cave in; so, as the Israeli government began to run out of money, Ben Gurion, on March 5, 1957, grudgingly capitulated. On March 16, Israel withdrew from almost all the territory it had occupied in the Suez offensive.

Today in Palestine: Settlement and appropriation continue unabated in E. Jerusalem and Hebron Hills

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 08:34 AM PDT

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing

Israeli bulldozers raze 4 east Jerusalem buildings (AP)
AP - Israeli bulldozers destroyed at least two homes and two other buildings in contested east Jerusalem on Tuesday, resuming the demolition of Palestinian property after a halt aimed at encouraging peace talks.*

Israel razes inhabited Palestinian home in Jerusalem (Reuters)
Reuters - Israel razed an inhabited Palestinian home in East Jerusalem on Tuesday for the first time in eight months, effectively ending an unofficial demolition freeze imposed under U.S. pressure to revive peace talks.*

Council approves construction of 32 new homes in East Jerusalem
Approval is part of plan to build a total of 250 apartment units in Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, despite Obama administration's characterization of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as settlements.

Israel To Expropriate 30 Dunams Near Hebron
The Israeli Authorities decided to illegally expropriate 30 Dunams of Palestinian lands that belong to villagers of Beit Ola, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Prisoners society warns 8 face deportation
Tubas - Ma'an - Eight prisoners will face an Israeli military court on 19 July, and could be deported, the Palestinian Prisoners Society director in Tubas in the northern West Bank reported on Tuesday.  Mahmoud Sawafta identified one of the eight as Taleb Khaled Tayeh Bani Odah from Tammun in the Tubas district, detained on 21 May 2006 and serving a year and a half sentence which finished in December 2008.  Sawafta called the human right groups and the International Red Cross to exert pressure on the Israeli authorities and prevent the deportation of Bani Odah. The official said the deportation would be to another country, but was unable to give details.

Libyan Flotilla, Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Libyans say Israel orders Gaza aid ship to Egypt (AP)
AP - The Libyan organizers of an aid ship trying to breach Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza say an Israeli military vessel has confronted the ship and ordered it to change course for the Egyptian port of el-Arish.*

Gaza: Hundreds urge Libyan ship to continue
Gaza – Ma'an – Hundreds of Gaza residents brought Libyan flags and photos of Libyan President Omar Ghadafi to the city's main square on Monday, urging a Libyan ship to stay its course for the Strip.  Following an announcement by Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi on Sunday, denying Israeli reports that The Hope would be diverted to the Egyptian port of Al-Arish, independent Gaza PLC member Jamal Al-Khudari said residents of the besieged area once again came out to thank a nation for its support.

IDF preparing for forceful interception of Libya-sponsored aid ship bound for Gaza
An internal IDF probe into May 31 Gaza flotilla incident found only professional mistakes in planning and carrying out the operation.

Foreign Ministry advises IDF: Don't stop Gadhafi ship until it approaches Gaza waters
Ministry's legal department says uncertain whether ship intends to break Gaza blockade since its documentation indicates it is headed for El-Arish, Egypt.

MK Ben-Ari: Sink Libyan Ship
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said Sunday that the best way to handle the Libyan ship on its way to Gaza with "humanitarian" supplies was to sink it. The ship, he said, was "a threat to Israel's independence. In order to prevent a flood of hundreds of ships and thousands of refugees gathering on our borders, the ship must be sunk.

Jordanians to deliver Gaza aid overland via Egypt
A group of Jordanian activists and trade unionists set off for Gaza on Tuesday to deliver the blockaded Palestinian enclave aid relief and medical supplies overland from Egypt, organisers said. "The convoy left today for Gaza... 150 people including unionists, journalists and academics as well as 25 vehicles carrying supplies and medical  said," Alaa Borqan, spokesman for the Islamist-dominated trade unions, told AFP.  "The group plans to establish a hospital for children in Gaza. The convoy is expected to arrive at the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, and we are currently in touch with the Egyptian authorities to grant us entry."

Pink Floyd duo outshine Kate Moss at Palestine charity gig
It is not often that Kate Moss finds herself upstaged. But the supermodel's enthusiastic turn on the tambourine was overshadowed by a rare reunion of Pink Floyd legends David Gilmour and Roger Waters.They took to the stage at the Hoping For Palestine charity gala, where guests bid at an auction throughout the night to raise money for Palestinian refugee children.

Met pays £25,000 to twins for injuries at Gaza demo
Police apologise to brothers for force used during protests outside Israeli embassy in London.  The Metropolitan police has paid £25,000 to twin brothers who claimed they were attacked by police during demonstrations in London against the Israeli invasion of Gaza.  Ashley and Russell Inglis said they both needed hospital treatment after being struck on the head with a baton by a police officer during a protest outside the Israeli embassy in January 2009.  Ashley, 28, said he had been part of a crowd shouting "shame on you" at the police after they had seemed to attack another demonstrator.

Violence/Aggression (...and pretending to kill Palestinians for fun)
Israel raids Nablus and Hebron, no detentions were reported
West Bank, July 13, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) invaded on Tuesday morning several neighborhoods in Nablus in the northern West Bank, while raided a house in the town of Seir, east of Hebron, and conducted search operations.  Witnesses said that the occupation forces supported by several military vehicles stormed the neighborhood of the Al-Maslakh and public housing in Nablus where they roamed the area near Balata, no detentions were reported.

Israel paves the way for killing by remote control
With the 'Spot and Shoot' system, soldiers aim guns at Palestinians while sitting in an operations room miles away.

IOF troops arrest son, brother of Hamas detained leader
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Monday the son and the brother of detained Hamas leader Sheikh Ibrahim Jabr, 50, at a military roadblock near Al-Khalil city.

Israel forces arrest six Palestinians
RAMALLAH: Israeli forces operating in West Bank cities arrested six Palestinians on Monday, Israeli and Palestinian security sources said.  The Palestinian sources said that the six Palestinian were detained in the cities of Jenin and Hebron after house search operations. Israeli security sources told the Army Radio that the detainees were wanted by the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet and were taken to unknown locations for questioning. Israeli defense establishment says the arrest campaigns in Palestinian cities are part of its war against Palestinian armed groups.

Israeli troops penetrate into Al-Qarara town, arrest three Palestinians 
RAMALLAH, July 13 (KUNA) -- The Israeli occupation troops on Tuesday penetrated into the outskirts of the Al-Qarara town east of Khan Younis southern Gaza Strip.  Palestinian sources said that a number of Israeli tanks accompanied by bulldozers moved into the outskirts of al-Qarara and began razing farmland amid gunfire without injuries.  Israeli forces carry out daily incursions on the border with the Gaza Strip and deprive citizens of access to their farmland.  In the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians in the village of Beit Rima near Ramallah and the village Al-Shyoukh in Hebron after a raid on their homes.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights
Access Denied
This week the UN told us what we already know; Israel's movement restrictions are hugely damaging to Palestinians' quality of life. Michael Carpenter and Rebecca Fudala scoured the Occupied Territories to show how damaging these restrictions are.

Soldiers Close the Jordan Valley Area
Israeli soldiers closed on Monday night after midnight the Jordan Valley area in the occupied West Bank, and declared it a closed military zone.

IOF erects new checkpoint in Hebron
Hebron, July 13, (Pal Telegraph) IOF erected today morning a militant checkpoint in the area of Hanina southern to the town of Dura in Hebron, southern West Bank.  Witnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces erected a checkpoint, detained citizens and wreaked havoc in the area, pointing to the presence of three militant jeeps to guard the checkpoint with a number of Israeli soldiers and so-called border guards.  According to same witnesses, the region has witnessed an intensive presence of Israeli soldiers who stopped the citizens and their vehicles and checked their identity cards.  The area south of Hebron, witnesses an escalation of the intense security procedures of Israeli occupation forces and the presence of barriers belonging to the army and so-called border guards and Israeli police hunting the citizens and their vehicles.

Israeli colonization means life of poverty for W. Bank children
Israel's policies of land confiscation, expanding settlement colonies, and discriminatory building permit restrictions are forcing more Palestinians -- especially children -- into a desperate economic and humanitarian crisis in the occupied West Bank, according to a report by Save the Children UK (STCUK).

Everyday life in Gaza, David Rose
The blockade has made Gaza a global symbol of hardship. To be sure, it has reduced much of its economy to ruins: with exports to the outside world impossible, the factories and workshops are closed, and unemployment is perhaps as high as 80 percent. Moreover, it is only 18 months since the end of Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli attack conducted to stop a rain of Gazan rockets, which reduced thousands of buildings to rubble and killed close to 1,500 civilians.  Yet tough as most Gazans' lives are, they are getting on with them. And the often unspoken truth is that while the blockade has imposed a comprehensive block to Gazan productivity, it has become completely ineffective as a means of preventing imports. Moreover, not everyone is on welfare. The Palestinian Authority continues to pay the salaries of some 55,000 workers. There are NGOs, and the UN. In the teeming refugee camps, there is poverty and deprivation, but the blockade's worst consequence is the frustration of potential and productive energy.

Israel opens Abu Salem crossing, enters 300 calves

Gaza, July 13, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - The Israeli authorities opened today Karem Abu Salem to allow the entry of limited quantities of fuel and aid into the Gaza Strip, while kept Al-Montar crossing closed.  "The occupation authorities will open Abu Salem crossing to allow the entry of 150-160 vans loaded with aid and goods for industrial and agriculture sectors." Raed Fatouh, Palestinian crossings official, said.

Hani Almadhoun: The Environmental Toll of the Gaza Siege
The siege on Gaza has many intended and unintended consequences. Three years under siege is a long time, but in those years the people of Gaza have learned to adapt with the frequent interruptions of their lives due to the circumstances imposed on Gaza. Every time you head to a Gaza market, you are reminded of those difficulties. If the price if your favorite item (i.e. fruit juice, potatoes chips, baby formula, and yogurt) is exceptionally high, the vendor is likely to blame the Israeli siege or the Egyptian authorities for a recent tunnel bust affecting supplies.

Despite Israeli blockade, innovation thrives in Gaza
The relentless Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has squeezed many things, but it hasn't robbed people of their ability and desire to innovate and invent. At the Rashad al-Shawa cultural center in heart of Gaza City, dozens of local companies and individuals recently demonstrated hi-tech products and inventions at an exhibition sponsored by government and nongovernmental bodies. Rami Almeghari reports from the occupied Gaza Strip.

Gaza to Ramallah: Live up to pilgrimage promise
Gaza – Ma'an – The Gaza government accused its Ramallah counterpart of violating an agreement to process visas for Strip residents wishing to perform the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca.  As a consequence, officials said, Hamas border officials are refusing passage to the few who have received permits, demanding all those who applied be issued papers or none will be permitted to travel.

Flotilla Fallout
Clinton urges Turkey: Don't sever dialogue with Israel
Secretary of State holds 45-minute conversation with Davotuglu, affirms U.S. commitment to helping deal with PKK.

Israeli probe faults flotilla raid planning but praises execution
The Israeli military has released its report into the deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla on May 31, which killed nine people. The 100-page document criticises the Israeli navy for "serious errors" in preparing and carrying out the assault at sea. But when it came to the conduct of Israeli soldiers during the raid, the report found no wrongdoing and instead, praised officers who took part in it. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Jerusalem. (July 13, 2010)

MESS Report / IDF probe of Gaza flotilla carefully avoided placing real blame
Giora Eiland's conclusions on the takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla are as ineffectual as those he provided four years ago after investigating the abduction of Gilad Shalit.

Turkish group dismisses Israeli report on Gaza flotilla raid
A group known as the "Free Gaza Flotilla" has dismissed the Israeli military's probe into the May 31 deadly raid on the aid convoy which killed nine people. The 100-page document criticises the Israeli navy for "serious errors" in intelligence and planning but found no wrongdoing on the part of those carrying out the raid and said "the use of live fire was justified". Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Istanbul. (July 13, 2010)

Israel: Use of live fire justified
Internal probe faults Israeli navy for poor planning but recommends no punishments.

Political/Other Developments
Abbas urges Hamas to sign reconciliation deal (AFP)
AFP - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Monday renewed calls for the Islamist Hamas movement to sign an Egyptian-drafted reconciliation document that would allow elections to take place.*

Abbas continues tour in Romania
Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas met with Romanian President Traian Basescu at the presidential headquarters in the nation's capital Bucharest on Monday.  The visit comes as Abbas continues his Africa and East Europe tour, updating nations on the Palestinian situation, and solidifying support for the government program, including the plan of the 13th government to declare a state by 2011 if negotiations with Israel fail.

Israel's Arab and American Helpers
Erekat: No unilateral declaration of Palestinian state
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tells Turkish state television that Israel is preventing direct peace talks by refusing to halt settlement activity or discuss permanent status issues.

U.S. conservatives form new pro-Israel lobby group
A group of leading American conservatives has set up a new group to attack President Obama over his "anti-Israel" stance, U.S. website Politico reports.

Rabbi Ovadia to Mubarak: Get well fast, your highness
Shas' spiritual leader send letter to Egyptian president, wishes him 'full, speedy recovery'.,7340,L-3918809,00.html

Other News
Turkey determined to build industry zone in West Bank
Turkey's foreign trade minister said Tuesday that Turkey would definitely build an industrial zone in West Bank despite all the obstructions by Israel.

Report: US threatens to cut Jordan's aid
Arab media reports Washington demanding Amman coordinate uranium enrichment with Israel.,7340,L-3918876,00.html

US threatens cuts in aid to its Arab friends, why not its Jewish one?
Critics of the US-Israel Special Relationship will often cite how many billions of dollars in aid the US gives the Jewish state each year and how that number dwarfs the amount given to any other country in the world. These critics often miss the fact that the US also gives large amounts of aid to the two neighboring Arab states which have signed peace treaties with Israel.  And when these states misbehave--i.e., they do things that Israel doesn't like--the US threatens to cut that aid.  Because Egypt wasn't doing enough to help Israel choke Gaza, for example, the US government threatened to reduce its aid.  Now we have reports that the US is making noises about slashing Jordan's aid if it does not coordinate its uranium enrichment program with Israel.  The image the layman is left with is of a spoiled brat with rich parents who buy him friends.  I am waiting for the day when the US conditions Israel's foreign aid on its willingness to coordinate its nuclear program, not even with all the surrounding Arab countries, but just with Egypt and Jordan.

Israel weighs responses to 'barrage' of international criticism
Officials say particularly concerned over UN probe of country's court system in the wake of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war.

Couple arrested for loud sex
They were placed in custody, and criminal records were filed against them for insulting a public official, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to six months. The couple remained in custody until the early afternoon, for the most part cuffed.  "When I asked the officers whether they didn't make noises when they had sex, I must have hurt the uniformed souls profoundly," the young woman told Ynet.  She said she found the case especially threatening because she holds a security-linked position. "Neither of us has a criminal record. I can't believe that in one moment, and for nothing, Israel Police can just come into a citizen's private abode and turn him from a regular civilian into a criminal. I could lose my job over this," she added.,7340,L-3918910,00.html

The haredi school scam
Yedioth Ahronoth learns religious schools not teaching basic subjects despite receiving millions from State to do so. Economists: Rabbis want to keep public ignorant; in 20 years job market will be nonexistent.,7340,L-3918220,00.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
A Special Place in Hell / Israelis need a Gandhi of their own,  Bradley Burston
There is nothing more threatening to the occupation than the specter of Palestinian non-violence.

U.S. gov't record label offers IDF album and many other hymns to Zionism,  Philip Weiss

Smithsonian Folkways is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, which is a U.S. Gov't cocnern. My friend Bob Feldman writes:  "If you do an advanced search on the Smithsonian music site by 'country,' you'll find that for 'Palestine Territory' there apparently are just 5 albums being distributed, while for 'Israel' there are 51 albums being distributed, including an album containing songs from the IDF."

Israel, The Master of Exploitation, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
History and religion can be powerful tools in justifying the present. And nobody does this better than Israel. The problem is that Israel, its leaders and by proxy, its people, expect that they can exploit and twist history and religion without ever feeling the sting from the backlash of such exploitation from others.  The starkest, and by far, the most hackneyed example of this is the Holocaust. At every opportunity, Israeli politicians drag up the Holocaust as a way of foremost, invoking pity for the Jewish people and thereby justifying its actions towards the Palestinians. It is appalling how the suffering and death of so many people – Jewish and non-Jewish for that matter – is cheapened and reduced to a mere political playing card. During his speech before the United Nations in September, 2009 following the horrific events of the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid the Holocaust guilt trip on thick. He held up a map of Auschwitz and a copy of what he said were "precise German instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews." He focused on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenejad and berated anyone who listened to him. "To those who gave this Holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?"

From a corporate perspective, there is no Green Line, Philip Weiss
Where is the Israeli left? Gone, right? No, we are in the midst of a great awakening and shift, and just as the American landscape is going to yield strange and important embraces (Anne Coulter and Dennis Kucinich, against a war on Iran), self-described radicalism in Israel will come to seem logical and reasonable, the only just response to a crisis. Here are members of a radical feminist group, Coalition of Women for Peace, arguing for BDS. Dalit Baum and Merav Amir at Palestine Note, saying it can't be limited to just the occupation.

In 'NYT,' commenters brand Israel 'fascist', Philip Weiss
Ethan Bronner got the scoop today on Israel's investigation of the flotilla raid concluding that the 9 killings were justified. The piece included one line at odds with the Israeli narrative, the last line: "Passengers aboard the flotilla have mostly told a very different story, with some witnesses accusing the commandos of shooting randomly as they came aboard." Funny; it's like a parody of propaganda.

Do U.S. Jewish leaders take Netanyahu seriously?
The PM failed to call for an 'eternal, undivided Jerusalem' last week, but U.S. Jewish leaders didn't seem to take notice.

Is Israel a Normal Country?,  John Chuckman
This article starts with a brave question, and I think for most people the answer is apparent with the asking of the question.  But like the famous line of T.S. Elliot, the piece ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.  After asking a question which would never pass the lips of Israel's establishment, the article makes the very claims and assertions the Israeli government would make.

Jewish colonist rabbi says why the land should bloom only with Jews
Rabbi Gideon Perl, Regional Rabbi of illegal settlement Gush Etzion, explains the supposed right of Jews to live in the West Bank.
God gave us the land, didn't you know?

Monday: 6 Iraqis Wounded
At least six Iraqis were wounded in unusually light violence. Reports are often light around important religious holidays, as may be this case this week. Meanwhile, parliament has put off holding their next session for two weeks or until there is agreement on some issues.

Iraqi schools, once renowned, still reeling from war
The US has rebuilt and resupplied Iraqi schools. But amid continued sectarian violence and attacks on educational institutions and teachers, the system still needs security and hope.

Still in deadlock, Iraqi Parliament delays session to select new president

BAGHDAD: Iraqi politicians on Monday postponed for two weeks a session of Parliament that should have picked the country's new president after failing to make any headway in talks on a coalition government, lawmakers said.

Sayyed Nasrallah, Khaled Meshaal Discuss Regional Developments
12/07/2010 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah received Monday Hamas's politburo chief Khaled Meshaal who offered condolences for the death of Ayatollah Mohamad Hussein Fadlullah. Meshaal was accompanied by Hezbollah Political Council member Hasan Hodroj and Hamas officials in Lebanon Oussama Hamdan and Ali Barakah.  Sayyed Nasrallah and the Hamas delegation discussed recent developments in Palestine, Lebanon, and the region.

Telecom employee charged with spying for Israel
BEIRUT, July 13 (Reuters) - A Lebanese prosecutor on Tuesday charged an executive at state-owned mobile phone firm Alfa with spying for Israel and referred him to military court.  Judicial sources said if Charbel Qazzi was convicted he could face the death penalty. Alfa, which is managed by Egypt's Orascom Telecom, said it had no comment on the news.  Qazzi's arrest last month shocked the country because of his senior position in the company, and caused debate on how deeply Israel has infiltrated Lebanon's telecoms and security sectors.

Lebanese closer to consensus on Palestinian refugees' rights
BEIRUT: Lebanese domestic debate over the extent of rights to be granted to Palestinian refugees seems to have settled on a basket of social and work rights that exclude property ownership, as Christian parties reached a compromise over the issue with the country's major political groups.

Palestinian Rights: All but Phalange Agree on New Law
12/07/2010 The majority March 14 coalition, except for the Phalange Party, has reportedly agreed on a new law that would grant Palestinians living in Lebanon the right to work and study.   Lebanese daily An-Nahar newspaper on Monday quoted Future Movement bloc sources as saying that the law which was the result of successive meetings between the Future movement, the Lebanese Forces and the March 14 Secretariat General got everybody's approval, except the Phalange party.  Phalange Party politburo member Sejaan Qazzi said the group objects the proposal suggesting giving Palestinian refugees the right to work. He told Lebanese daily As-Safir that his party demands modifications in the law on Palestinians civil rights.

Documentary to raise awareness of Lebanon's child beggars
BEIRUT: Social Affairs Minister Salim Sayegh launched an awareness documentary about child beggars, during a news conference Monday. The documentary is part of the ministry's program to protect street children. The program includes amending protection laws and forming a national protection and prevention plan.

Beyond Absurd:  US: Lebanon war victims sue al-Jazeera
Plaintiffs claim Qatar-based network 'intentionally reported live coverage of locations of missile strikes inside of Israel to aid Hezbollah'; demand $1.2 billion in damages.,7340,L-3919197,00.html

U.S. and other World News

Blast kills 3 Afghans as civilian casualties soaring in Afghanistan
Three civilians were killed and another sustained injuries as their car ran over a mine in Sapera district of Afghanistan's eastern Khost province on Monday while on the same day an Afghan human right group condemned soaring civilian casualties in the war-torn country.

2010 deadliest year in Afghanistan
ARM's mid-year report "Civilian Casualties of Conflict" said Obama's policy of intensifying operations against the Taliban has not disrupted, dismantled or defeated the insurgents. On the contrary, it says, "the insurgency has become more resilient, multi-structured and deadly".

Beating the Drums of War: US commander in Iraq: Iran threat has increased (AP)
AP - The top U.S. military commander in Iraq says the threat to U.S. troops from Iran-backed militants has increased but that it will not disrupt the American drawdown.*

Iran Official Lambasts West's Double-Standard Policy On N. Program
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

World powers mull Brazil, Turkey's presence in Iran talks

World powers have not formally agreed that Brazil and Turkey can sit in on talks over a nuclear fuel supply deal with Iran, but neither have they explicitly ruled out such an arrangement, diplomats said Monday.

Guantanamo inmate refuses plea deal
Young Canadian says US military tortured and abused him during eight year detention.

George Tenet, As'ad Abukhalil
In 2003, after the American invasion of Iraq, George Tenet went on a secret trip to Qatar to meet with the Emir. He informed him that if Aljazeera does not change its coverage of the American invasion, the US would consider Aljazeera "a hostile target." I am told that a bitter argument ensued and obscenities were exchanged. [end]

Rarely Seen Pictures Of The Devastating Consequences Of The BP Disaster

Europe's continued obsession with what Muslim women wear:  France to vote on veil ban
Bill set to be passed by lower house, but could still be found unconstitutional.

An American writer sees the Occupation for the first time

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:58 AM PDT

I went to the demonstration against Netanyahu in a police pen near the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City last Thursday and talked with Nancy Kricorian of Code Pink about the Palestine Festival of Literature this spring, where she read from a novel she had written about the Armenian genocide.

Kricorian said that as she read she got very emotional. She'd spent the previous week seeing the West Bank for the first time. She met a girl who showed her a deep bruise on her thigh from a soldier slamming his rifle butt into her leg when she refused to remove her clothes in order to be searched at a checkpoint. She went through the Qalandiya checkpoint several times, she went through the Bethlehem checkpoint, which she had heard described as the "Lambs to the Slaughter," and whose steel chutes had made her feel like livestock. The mood of her novel was so charged with the overwhelming violence of the occupation that she kind of lost it.

Later an American who lives in Israel came up to her and said, "You seemed to be getting pretty emotional up there." "Yes," she said, "well after what we've seen this last week, it's extremely upsetting." The American said, "When you live out here you get used to it." Kricorian stared at him with her jaw open. And he said, "I was joking."

Kricorian told me she didn't know which was worse, to get used to it or to make a joke about it.

She said the Palestinians also get used to it, to the downright ongoing thievery of the situation, and the oppressive bureaucracy of the checkpoints, and then certain things shock them and are widely discussed. A ten-year-old girl had been stopped at a metal detector because she had an artificial leg. The soldiers had made her take her leg off in front of them, and they further insisted that she disrobe. The girl was thoroughly humiliated, and the story was flying around among Palestinians, with horror and anger.

At the same time as the Palestine Festival of Literature there was a Jerusalem literature festival with David Grossman reading and Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss. Ethan Bronner, who wrote a piece for the Times about the two festivals, suggested that they should all get together. But PalFest organizer Ahdaf Soueif explained to him that the Palestinian writers on the festival bus wouldn't be allowed entry to West Jerusalem.

Some of the most pitiable stories Kricorian had heard involved the denial of basic rights, the rights to travel and speak and even to think, to Palestinians. A scholar in Bethlehem said that her dissertation had come to an end because it was about 19th Century Christian missionaries' travel narratives of the Holy Land and for some reason she got put on a blacklist and so she wasn't allowed into Jerusalem. All the books she needed for her research were in a restricted library in Jerusalem only four miles from her house, but she couldn't read them. Then a young man with literary ambition told Kricorian that all his friends just want to write about the occupation, that's their material after all, their donne, but he's afraid to write, because Israeli soldiers have come into his house and thrown his papers and books up in the air, and what if they come in and find he is writing about the occupation, he could go to jail or get on a list so that he can't travel?? 

Then Kricorian talked about the apartheid analogy. A PalFest participant from South Africa had been stunned while visiting the West Bank because she said it was far worse than what South Africa had been like under apartheid. Another South African PalFest writer had said the current level of violence by Israel's government was reminiscent of the last days of apartheid.

And this is the part that gives Kricorian hope. The current Palestine solidarity movement is a lot like the 80s during the anti-South Africa divestment movement that she took part in. I asked Kricorian about the power politics-- the hasbara, and the Jewish community organizations. Kricorian said this scene too is changing. The Beinart piece was huge, and even the New York Times/Bronner takeout on tax-deductible gifts to settlements showed a sea change beginning in the mainstream coverage of the issues.

Kricorian blogged about the festival here.

Israeli whitewasher on flotilla inquiry once called for 'suffering of 100s of 1000s of people'

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:35 AM PDT

The head of the investigation that said Israel made some mistakes but basically did the right thing in raiding the Mavi Marmara on May 31 is General Giora Eiland. A note from Norman Finkelstein:

It's useful to remember who Giora Eiland is. The Goldstone Report listed Eiland as one of the ideological architects of the Gaza massacre:

[Paragraph] 1196. After the war in southern Lebanon in 2006, a number of senior former military figures appeared to develop the thinking that underlay the strategy set out by Gen. Eiskenot. In particular Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland has argued that, in the event of another war with Hizbullah, the target must not be the defeat of Hizbullah but "the elimination of the Lebanese military, the destruction of the national infrastructure and intense suffering among the population… Serious damage to the Republic of Lebanon, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people are consequences that can influence Hizbollah's behaviour more than anything else". [Giora Eiland, "The Third Lebanon War: Target Lebanon," Strategic Assessment (November 2008)]

Update from Finkelstein on the central issue here:

Israeli philosopher Asa Kasher, despite doing his utmost to defend the Gaza massacre, nonetheless said that "a democratic state...cannot use human beings as mere tools to create deterrence. Human beings are not tools to be used," and that "killing for the sake of deterrence is something akin to terrorism." Asa Kasher, "Operation Cast Lead and Just War Theory," Azure (Summer 2009), p. 51; Asa Kasher, "A Moral Evaluation of the Gaza War," Jerusalem Post (7 February 2010).

DJ NYT brings the bling, and spins one for the ladies in the house tonight!

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:26 AM PDT

Upon reviewing Nicholas Kristof's latest article and blog post; they collectively form the play list for DJ NYT's Patronizing the Palestinians 2010: Summer Party Mix.  First up is his latest article, "Waiting for Gandhi on the West Bank".

Despite being stoned and tear-gassed on this trip, I find a reed of hope here.

While much of the world have been meanies and given up on the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process, this brave Western soul hasn't!  DJ NYT starts the show with Great White Hope Still Has Hope for "Peace" This one is also a fave of Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen. The benevolent Great White Hope is writing to teach you a lesson on the two state solution!

Fire up the bbq and get a cold one out of the fridge cuz here comes that classic summer jam: Protests Aren't Peaceful.

At first the mood was festive and peaceful, and you could glimpse the potential of this approach. But then a group of Palestinian youths began to throw rocks at Israeli troops. That's the biggest challenge: many Palestinians define "nonviolence" to include stone-throwing.

I love that one because it brings back fond memories of MC Jaron's blinged-out party anthem from earlier this year: West Bank Spectacle.

Here's track 3 on DJ NYT's summer play list. This one comes from the New York Times' Greatest Hits album. We all fondly remember the classic, No Palestinian Ghandi:

It's a far cry from the heroism of Gandhi's followers, who refused even to raise their arms to ward off blows as they were clubbed.

DJ NYT surprises the crowd by playing the lead single off Kristof's new album. Here's one for all the ladies in the house tonight: Unless Palestinian Women Get Beaten, Protests Aren't Peaceful

What if the women allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, beaten and arrested without a single rock being thrown?

MC Kristof has always been known for the deep social commentary in his lyrics.  He doesn't disappoint today!

Coming up next is a new take on an old favorite, The Good Palestinians (PA Luv) Seek Peace:

One genuinely peaceful initiative is a local boycott of goods produced by Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Finish off that strawberry daiquiri, because here's one I know you've all been waiting for: No Palestinian Martin Luther King!

So far there is no Palestinian version of Martin Luther King Jr.

Get ready to hit the dance floor, cuz comin atcha here's Palestinians Aren't Feminists

Most Palestinian demonstrations are overwhelmingly male, but in Budrus women played a central role.

It's good of MC Kristof to teach Palestinians how to properly protest.  Is there anything this magnanimous outsider can't do!? 

DJ NYT took a quick break, but the hits keep coming this Summer 2010! Kristof's blog post "Palestinian Civil Disobedience": Palestinians Aren't a Partner for Peace:

the Palestinians are split between Gaza and the West Bank, so there is no unified entity that can deliver all Palestinians.

The ladies always throw their panties on stage for this next one, We All Know What Peace Would Look Like:

we know what the final deal would look like — the Clinton parameters, or the Geneva accord.

For the first time ever, First Intifada Not Nonviolent back to back with that smooth slow jam, Palestinians Would've Disgusted Ghandhi (ft. Kenny G on the Sax):

Compare the first intifada to Gandhi's salt march or to King's work in Selma, and they're not remotely similar…His principle was that protesters shouldn't even raise their arms to protect themselves when they were clubbed — and stone-throwing would have left him aghast.

DJ NYT closes the set with two show stoppers, Israel: Still a Democracy / Palestinians Must Prove their Peacefulness To Earn Their Freedom:

But Israel is a democracy with huge numbers of television cameras all over. And I think American public opinion and a good chunk of Israeli public opinion would be moved by the sight of large numbers of peaceful protesters.

I'm disappointed DJ NYT didn't play the bugged out Busta Rhymes inspired Fayyad Fetish (only the remix w/ Lady Gaga on the hook).  I was also surprised he left out my favorite song of all time Right of Return not Realistic (Baby, Look Forward not Back).

US threatens cuts in aid to its Arab friends, why not its Jewish one?

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:21 AM PDT

Critics of the US-Israel Special Relationship will often cite how many billions of dollars in aid the US gives the Jewish state each year and how that number dwarfs the amount given to any other country in the world. These critics often miss the fact that the US also gives large amounts of aid to the two neighboring Arab states which have signed peace treaties with Israel.  And when these states misbehave--i.e., they do things that Israel doesn't like--the US threatens to cut that aid.  Because Egypt wasn't doing enough to help Israel choke Gaza, for example, the US government threatened to reduce its aid.  Now we have reports that the US is making noises about slashing Jordan's aid if it does not coordinate its uranium enrichment program with Israel.  The image the layman is left with is of a spoiled brat with rich parents who buy him friends.  

I am waiting for the day when the US conditions Israel's foreign aid on its willingness to coordinate its nuclear program, not even with all the surrounding Arab countries, but just with Egypt and Jordan.  

Frum and Feith's Holocaust statements are politically loaded and too terse

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:14 AM PDT

I always want to ask Douglas Feith sincerely about the effect of the destruction of his father's family -- "Both of his parents, four of his sisters, and all three of his brothers-- my grandparents, aunts, and uncles--were murdered in the Holocaust," the architect of the Iraq war writes in War and Decision-- on Feith's ideas about Trusting non-Jews (I bet he doesn't) and the Necessity of the Jewish state (from the river to the sea!) and the need for militancy to preserve the Jewish state against its enemies (Arabs are the new Nazis). If I were Feith, I wonder if I wouldn't have reached similar conclusions under the distorting impact of this grievance. (Achievement-oriented sons of Feith, how are you doing with the baggage?)

It turns out David Frum also has direct Holocaust connections. I never knew this before, me, a collector of the annotated works of Frum. Frum at Sullivan's blog:

Today, July 12, is not only Orange Day, but also the birthday of my paternal grandfather Saul Frum. Born in the Czarist empire in 1904, he migrated to Canada with his wife, my grandmother, in 1930. My father was born the next year. That lucky bit of timing is the reason I am typing at this computer today: Those in his family who remained behind in Europe were all murdered, with only one survivor. 

I think of my grandfather often, more and more as I near the age when I knew him. My own son is named for him.

These confessions are inter alia. You don't see the neocons going into these identity-formative backgrounds. I wish these neocons would talk about this stuff more directly, so that other Jews can offer their own testimony about history and identity. In fact, it's past time that Yivo had a panel on Blaming the gentiles, in which supporters of Israel like Jeffrey Goldberg, for whom the Holocaust record was also formative, publicly accuse the former non-Jewish U.S. establishment of letting the Jews down, and people have it out.

Washington Post forgets to quote the Israeli government's line

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 06:51 AM PDT

in this article about Israel considering restricting citizenship for people who convert to Judaism. All the people quoted are critics, two American rabbis. Is that because the Post somehow sides with the outraged in this particular case? (Yes.) A story about Palestinians would never be framed in this way.


Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:


Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
Call anytime: 917-974-6367

Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

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