Gepubliceerd: zondag 24 augustus 2008 22:54
vrijdag 29 augustus 2008
Gepubliceerd: zondag 24 augustus 2008 22:54
Showboating over Gaza
The protesters who came ashore last week should blame Hamas rather than Israel for the territory's ills
Having thoroughly assessed the security risks, Israel granted the ships safe passage. The protesters came ashore with enough hot air to fill the 5,000 balloons they'd brought for the children of Gaza. They also delivered 200 hearing aids. Yet their silence regarding Hamas's abuse of its own people, let alone Israeli civilians, has been deafening.
Ironically, while the protesters tub-thumped their way to Gaza, just three weeks earlier, scores of Palestinians were at the Israeli border, fleeing for their lives. Eleven Palestinians died and more than a hundred were injured in fierce fighting between Hamas and its Fatah rivals. Facing slaughter by Hamas forces, nearly 200 Fatah members fled to Israel for refuge. Bilal Hilles, one of the wounded, described his fear at the prospect of returning to Hamas rule. "It would be like a death sentence for me," he told the Jerusalem Post.
Hamas's enslavement of Gaza continues, as does the silent complicity of the protesters.
Observers should be wary. The portrayal of Israel as pantomime villain and as sole cause of conflict in the Middle East is jeopardising the search for real solutions to complex problems. Sections of liberal society risk sleepwalking into the service of those who represent the antithesis of liberal values, namely Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.
In Gaza, Hamas has ruthlessly crushed its rivals, stifling criticism and ransacking its opponents. Hamas seized power in a bloody coup d'etat in June last year, during which its Fatah rivals were brutalised and murdered, a fact evocatively illustrated by the sight of a Palestinian Authority official being hurled from a fifth-floor window.
Hamas has used the recent internal violence in Gaza to extinguish the final flames of resistance to its rule. No opposition media remains after Hamas shut down the radio station of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Human Rights Watch recently reported on Hamas's rule, citing "arbitrary arrests, tortured detainees, clamping down of freedom of expression and assembly".
Yet the protesters' anti-Israel dogma prevents an honest assessment of Hamas's abuse of its population and its misuse of resources. Key facts are distorted and disregarded, particularly as regards humanitarian aid, food and fuel supply. Contrary to the most popular distortions, patients and companions are frequently allowed into Israel and the West Bank for medical treatment. In 2007, more than 130,000 Gazans were granted entry on those grounds, a trend that continues to this day.
In keeping with the orders of the Israeli supreme court, millions of litres of fuel are made available every week at the Nahal Oz fuel depot. Hamas has frequently attacked the depot with mortar bombs and rifle fire. Thousands of tonnes of food supplies, medical equipment and building materials are transported through the Sufa and Karni crossings weekly. Following the period of relative calm brokered by the Egyptians in June, the supply has increased considerably. This despite near daily violations in the form of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel. Where does the aid and the fuel go? Why has Hamas frequently attacked the crossings and fuel terminals? Why has Hamas forced staff at petrol stations and bakeries to go on strike? In their zeal to demonise Israel, the protesters are failing to ask these questions. Consequently, they are failing the Palestinians tyrannised by Hamas's illegitimate rule.
The beneficiaries of this intellectual negligence are Hamas and their Iranian sponsors. Iran and its extremist friends are threatening moderates throughout the Arab world - in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Iraq, as well as among the Palestinians. Ironically, Arab Muslim commentators, who traditionally are no friends of Israel, seem more alarmed by the threat than their British counterparts.
It is time to realise that bashing Israel will not build Palestine. Showboating designed to vilify Israel will not steer the Palestinians through the choppy waters to statehood. Instead, the world must encourage the Palestinians to build their infrastructure and develop governing institutions. The extremists who sabotage this must be held to account. Ignoring the fragile dynamics within Palestinian society will merely push Palestinians further towards the Iranian orbit, towards isolation and away from their national aspirations.
The alarm bells about the extremist challenge have been ringing loudest within the Arab world itself. It is time they were heard here. Yet as the agitators and their fan clubs strive for ratings on Iranian TV, the pleas of progressives are falling on deaf ears.
Ron Prosor is the Israeli ambassador in London
Joint IDF, Shin Bet, police operation exposes Islamic Jihad cell comprised of three Palestinians, two Israeli Arabs, who planned to assassinate Israeli pilots, scientists
Published: 08.28.08, 18:22
Connections to 'Al-Manar' reporters
Hussam confessed in his questioning that he was aware of Saffouri's intentions and understood that the money would be used for military operations.
Getting past the black and white
Before she actually came here, Neheda Barakat thought of the country as "scary, mystical and an unknown entity." Although the Lebanese-born journalist likes to think that she arrived with an open mind, she could not escape Israel's image abroad as "the aggressor - nothing more, nothing less."
Now, after having almost completed a six-month assignment for Search for Common Ground - a Washington-headquartered nonprofit organization that works to transform the way the world deals with conflict by moving away from adversarial approaches toward collaborative problem solving - and having engaged in numerous in-depth conversations with both Israelis and Palestinians, she understands that nothing in their relationship is black and white.
"You see both sides and you have to be a psychological contortionist to unravel it," she says.
After a successful career with the Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles bureaus of Australia's Channel Nine network and later the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Barakat, 46, took up a special assignments role with Al-Jazeera English in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Then in 2006, she accepted a special assignment to work for the UN in New York producing and scripting feature stories about UN projects and matters of special concern.
Her contract with Search for Common Ground was to assist an independent Palestinian News Service which had already been established to get its act together so that it could operate in a more professional manner in accordance with international journalistic standards. She worked mainly in Bethlehem and Ramallah while commuting from Jerusalem.
A passionate professional committed to the ground rules of journalism, she was dismayed with what she found in the Palestinian independent news network.
"The resources aren't there and the skills aren't there," she said over coffee in Jerusalem.
Always ready to tackle a challenge, Barakat, recalling that she had been taught by some of the great teachers in Australian journalism, decided to try to pass on what she had learned to the Palestinian journalists.
The first thing she discovered was that they knew almost nothing about investigative journalism. "They don't know anything about reporting beyond one and a half minutes of news," she says. "They were doing stuff beyond their capability."
Part of the project was capacity building, which meant taking on interns. Although they were very keen, they had no skills, she says, adding: "All they'd been taught was cut and paste."
Moreover, none of them spoke Hebrew; nor, indeed, did the journalists with whom Barakat was working. "I don't know how they could be objective if they didn't know the language of the other side."
As a wordsmith, it also bothered her that the terms used by the Palestinian journalists were biased and non-objective. She took exception to their definition of martyrs, and told them bluntly that the people they considered to be martyrs were suicide bombers and that this was how they were perceived by the Israelis. She also balked at the Palestinians' use of the word "apartheid."
For that matter, she also finds fault with the Israelis, who too often refer to terrorists as Arabs rather than Palestinians. "You have to differentiate," she says. "When you say 'Arab,' it's indicting an entire region. On either side, it's not the language of peace."
Many of the arguments Barakat had with the Palestinian journalists were based on semantics. When they referred to the conflict as an "apartheid war," she told them that they had to delete it from the script. For their part, "the Israelis call it an anti-suicide bomber war," she told them.
"Once you explain it to them," she continues, "they understand, but it will be a long time before it's automatic. It's conditioning. You have to apply some self-examination."
A specialist in current affairs, Barakat initiated a feature on Fatah - Hamas: Truce and Beyond. The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation expressed interest, she says, but the program never went on the air, "because they didn't like what the Hamas guy said about [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas."
The PBC also refused to air another program in which a speaker from Kuwait, another from Lebanon and a local Palestinian discussed how the Arab world uses Palestinians as political pawns. Barakat was angry at the rejection because hard-hitting current affairs programs are supposed to ask hard questions.
Her advice to the PBC is: "Get a grip. Get a reality check."
A feature that got a better reception was a discussion on peace prospects in the light of changing administrations. Participants were Amira Oren of the Foreign Ministry, an Arabic-speaking representative of the US State Department and an adviser to Abbas. The program was conceived in the immediate aftermath of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement that he would not run in the upcoming Kadima leadership primary and with the realization that the other major players, the PA and the US, would also have a change of leadership within the next six months.
In her attempt to teach objectivity and balance, and given the time frame in which she was in the region, Barakat chose 60 years as one of the first subjects for a feature. She didn't specify it as 60 years of Israeli statehood, nor did she mention the word Nakba (catastrophe) in the script.
Although she speaks Arabic, she wrote the script in English because she did not think that her command of Arabic was at a level to be writing in that language. "I never worked so hard on terminology," she says.
The script dealt with people on both sides of the conflict, and the objective was to produce a Western-style current affairs feature where nothing was off limits. "I was trying to show them the professional approach and to demonstrate how this would be a breakthrough for them as journalists. They had to learn that there's one side and the other side to the story - and there's also the unadulterated truth."
In presenting the outline, she pushed beyond the ideas with which Palestinians have grown up, and got them to think about what they have done for themselves over the last 60 years. More than that, she got them to go out to Nablus and Ramallah to do a man-in-the-street survey on precisely that question.
What was interesting was that in Nablus, the respondents could not see beyond the occupation and almost invariably said that they wanted their land back. In Ramallah, however, the respondents tended to be broader in their thinking and blamed the British more than the Israelis for their predicament. They were also more inclined to self-criticism and agreed that they'd been taking aid rather than trying to help themselves.
"They do hope there will be peace," says Barakat. "Like everyone else they're tired of the situation. It's eroding their society."
As a Lebanese, who came to Australia at 10 with her parents and six siblings, Barakat could conceivably have grown up with an anti-Israel bias. But the Middle East conflict - except for the war in Lebanon - was not discussed in their home, she says. Her perceptions of Israel were influenced not by her home environment, but by how it was portrayed in the media.
"It's been personally edifying," she says of her time here. "I've been humbled by the experience. Israel and the Israelis are seen through the prism of conflict. There's only one dimension."
What surprised her is the amount of interaction between Israelis and Palestinians and the number of Israelis who are involved in the Palestinian cause. This gives her great hope for the future. "I say to people: They do live together. When you see that, you say it's going to happen. It may take a long time, but it will happen."
She still finds "hard views" among the Palestinians vis-à-vis any accommodation with Israel, and says to them: "No one is asking you to forget, but you must forgive and go on so that you can benefit yourselves. Look what the Israelis have achieved in 60 years. What have you done? You could have achieved this too."
She did notice, however, that there was a big difference between Palestinians who interact with Israelis "and those who are isolated on the West Bank.
Now that her assignment is almost over, Barakat views it as "an exceptional experience," and is sorry that it is coming to an end. "I'm falling in love with Jerusalem," she confesses.
With hindsight and taking into account all the difficulties that she experienced in fulfilling her assignment, Barakat believes that Search for Common Ground should be tackling the problem differently. "We should be sponsoring and funding journalism schools," she says. "We've come in too late. Their views have been inculcated."
donderdag 28 augustus 2008
85 tons of illegal gas seized en route to Gaza
Infrastructure Ministry inspectors find 1,700 gas tanks hidden in Ashkelon warehouse, say stolen tanks were intended for terror groups in Gaza
The gas, which was stored in tanks, is believed to have been in intended for smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
The ministry received a tip-off regarding the operation and dispatched inspectors to investigate. They raided the warehouse on Wednesday night, uncovering 1,700 large tanks.
"The tanks were in a huge warehouse that is not suited for gas storage; it was filled with wooden platforms and had no fire extinguishing system in place. It posed a very grave threat to local residents," said Shimon Ben-Shlomo, a senior inspector with the ministry. Ben-Shlomo added that this is the largest amount of gas ever seized in Israel.
The senior inspector said there was an even greater risk of disaster as area has been bombarded in the past by Gaza rockets. The warehouse is not fortified, Ben-Shlomo said.
According to the ministry, there is a pirate network of gas tank distribution in Israel. Most of the tanks are stolen. In this case, said Ben-Shlomo, the gas was intended to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
"The demand for these tanks wasn't just about the gas, but mostly because these are iron tanks - a metal that can be easily used in the manufacturing or weaponry, rocket and mortar shells," he said.
Local police said in response to the raid that they would arrest the owner of the warehouse and others involved in the storage of the gas and the plan to smuggle it into Gaza.
Today's Golden Oldie is from October 26 1981, twenty days after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
In Israel we were shocked at the lack of public response in Egypt to the murder of our "peace partner". I'm posting this cartoon today because Abie Nathan has just passed away. He was a true Israeli hero.
According to the AP report that's just come in: Israeli peace pioneer Abie Nathan dies at 81 Nathan died at Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital, the hospital said in a statement. He burst onto the world of Middle East diplomacy in 1966 with his solo flight more than a decade before Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty. Although he failed in his initial bid to talk peace with the Egyptians, his daredevil escapade won the affection of many Israelis and launched a long and often eccentric one-man crusade to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Over time, he earned a reputation as a maverick peace activist who often took diplomacy into his own hands. He was called a crackpot and a prophet. But many admired the daring of the former Israeli air force fighter pilot as he pounded on Egypt's doors, sailed his pirate radio ship into hostile Middle East waters or risked his life on hunger strikes for peace."
JERUSALEM (AP) -"Abie Nathan, the peace activist who made a dramatic solo flight to Egypt in a rattletrap single-engine plane and later founded the groundbreaking "Voice of Peace" radio station, died Wednesday. He was 81.
Israeli peace pioneer Abie Nathan dies at 81
Nathan died at Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital, the hospital said in a statement.
He burst onto the world of Middle East diplomacy in 1966 with his solo flight more than a decade before Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty.
Although he failed in his initial bid to talk peace with the Egyptians, his daredevil escapade won the affection of many Israelis and launched a long and often eccentric one-man crusade to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Over time, he earned a reputation as a maverick peace activist who often took diplomacy into his own hands. He was called a crackpot and a prophet. But many admired the daring of the former Israeli air force fighter pilot as he pounded on Egypt's doors, sailed his pirate radio ship into hostile Middle East waters or risked his life on hunger strikes for peace."-more
Abie at the controls, broadcasting offshore from the "Voice of Peace".
Rest in Peace: Abie Nathan
Al Qaeda Seen Establishing Presence Inside Israel
The most high-profile case was that of a Jerusalem student who allegedly sought advice on an Al Qaeda Internet forum on how to shoot down George W Bush's helicopter during the US president's visit to Israel in January.
An indictment filed last month alleges that Mohamed Najem, 24, from the town of Nazareth, frequently visited the Ekhlass website message board using the alias Mohamed of Sham, a Qur'anic name for Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which specialises in penetrating and monitoring protected jihadist websites, intercepted his alleged postings.
"My brothers in Allah... How can a plane be shot down, and how can that be done? The planes of the dying Bush land and take off over a period of two days in an area close to my residence," read a January 10 message in Arabic.
According to Shin Beth, Najem was one of six Israeli Arabs and East Jerusalem Palestinians who planned how "to apply the movement's ideology".
"They might have browsed certain websites, but that does not make them members of an illegal movement," said Lea Tsemel, a lawyer representing the alleged leader of the ring, 21-year-old Yusef Sumeirin, from occupied East Jerusalem.
"They are religious Muslims whose beliefs might be similar to some of Al Qaeda's views, but they were never accepted into the organisation and did not plan any attack," she added.
In another case, Israeli authorities last month detained two Bedouins from the southern town of Rahat suspected of planning attacks on airports, skyscrapers and military bases after joining Al Qaeda online forums.
"In recent months there have been several arrests in Israel that involved mainly Al Qaeda recruitment and planning over the Internet," a security official said on condition of anonymity.
Although the Palestinian cause figures strongly in Al Qaeda's rhetoric the group has never successfully attacked Israel, although it did carry out twin attacks against Israeli targets in the Kenyan city of Mombassa in November 2002.
Al Qaeda never developed much of a following in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where it has been mostly crowded out by older groups such as the late Yasser Arafat's secular Fatah and the Islamist Hamas movement.
While Hamas and Islamic Jihad focus exclusively on battling Israel, they also reject Al Qaeda's vision of a global jihad, precluding any kind of alliance.
"Radical Palestinian groups differ very much from Al Qaeda and in fact try not to be part of Al Qaeda's ideology. In that regard, the groups have different Internet forums, and often these forums are very critical of one another," SITE Intelligence Group director Rita Katz said.
Mutual animosity among the various Islamist groups has endured despite Hamas's seizure of Gaza, she said.
"In recent years we have noticed many new trends in regard to Al Qaeda's activities in Israel. Hamas is no longer part of the global jihad, and is actually considered by Al Qaeda leadership as an enemy," Katz said in an e-mail.
Israeli security officials fear Al Qaeda may manage to recruit Israeli Arabs who have in the past largely avoided the more traditional Palestinian armed groups.
The country's population of more than 7mn includes about 1.2mn Arabs, the descendants of Palestinians who remained in the Jewish state following its creation in 1948.
Experts say that Al Qaeda's network has grown throughout Israel and that the recent indictments should not be seen as isolated cases.
Shay Arbel, a senior researcher for Terrogence, an Israeli firm that specialises in analysing jihadist websites, said that the recent years have seen a sharp rise in the number of Israeli Arabs visiting the Al Qaeda forums.
Gaining access to such sites is possible only after passing a rigorous online test which includes a request for newcomers to present detailed ideas for attacks, Arbel said.
Israel slams Jordan's talks with Hamas as 'unhelpful to peace process'
In an about-face, Jordan is reaching out to Hamas amid fears that a collapse of Mideast peacemaking would bring an influx of refugees. But the U.S. ally must walk a delicate line to avoid angering its U.S. and Israeli friends.
Hamas is outlawed in Jordan, which has accused the group in the past of trying to destabilize it. But Jordanian intelligence chief Mohammed al-Dahabi held two covert meetings with top Hamas leaders this month, ending a nearly decade-long banishment of the group.
The talks don't mean Jordan, which signed a 1994 peace deal with Israel, is embracing the militant group or is turning its back on Arab-Israeli negotiations. But the kingdom has clearly decided it's better to rebuild a relationship with Hamas than keep shunning it as an enemy amid doubts over the peace process' future.
"We're at a crossroads and Jordan must protect itself and its national interests," said former Jordanian parliament speaker Abdul-Latif Arabiyat.
Jordan fears that the possible failure of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks backed by the Bush administration, which leaves office early next year, could embolden Hamas in the neighboring West Bank, as well as Muslim extremists in Jordan and across the Mideast. Quiet contacts with Hamas could mollify any fallout for Jordan if that happens.
Also, Jordan is worried a failure of talks will revive Israeli hardliner calls for ejecting West Bank Palestinians to Jordan or for parts of the West Bank to form a confederation with the kingdom as an alternative to an independent state.
Jordan, which ruled the West Bank from 1950 to 1967, strongly opposes such a move, as do Hamas and other Palestinians. Jordan's worries are demographic: Roughly half of its 5.8 million population are of Palestinian descent, from families that were displaced to the kingdom in two wars with Israel since 1948. Jordan is ruled by an elite drawn from its native, Bedouin-rooted clans.
Another flood of Palestinians could overwhelm Jordan and even spark civil unrest. In 1970, the Palestine Liberation Organization tried to overthrow Jordan's Hashemite monarchy by setting up a Palestinian government. But Jordan fought a bloody war, known as "Black September," as it evicted the PLO from its territory.
Jordan's contacts with Hamas have already irked Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank and has been battling to end Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip last year.
Abbas sent his interior minister, Abdel Razak Yehiye, to Jordan last week to "find out what the Jordanians are up to and if their contacts with Hamas meant dropping support for the Palestinian Authority," said an Amman-based Palestinian official, insisting on anonymity citing diplomatic sensitivities.
Israeli Embassy spokesman Itai Bardov in Amman called Jordan's contacts with Hamas "unhelpful to the peace process."
"We're against any negotiations with Hamas because we regard it as a terrorist movement," he said. "We should find ways to strengthen the Palestinian Authority instead of legitimizing Hamas, which made an illegal military coup in Gaza."
The United States also considers Hamas a terror organization and has refused contact with it. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said after seeing Palestinian and Israeli leaders that there was hope for a Mideast peace deal, but she offered no reason for optimism beyond the fact that the two sides are speaking.
Mindful of its allies' worries, Jordan only reluctantly confirmed its meetings with Hamas, days after they occurred.
State Minister for Information Nasser Judeh said Jordan wanted the meetings to continue, and that the discussions so far had focused only on "pending security issues."
Deputy Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said the talks, headed by Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal, tackled a wide range of issues, including the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and ways to "confront a substitute homeland for the Palestinians in Jordan."
With the meetings, Jordan may be hoping to help mend the Hamas-Abbas rift and boost the peace process, averting any talk of a Jordanian solution to the Palestinian question. It may also be trying to help in mediating a release of Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit, captured by Gaza militants more than two years ago. Abu Marzouk said the Jordanian intelligence chief inquired in the meetings about Shalit.
The split between Jordan and Hamas dates back to 1999, when Jordan came under tremendous pressure from the United States and Israel because Hamas leaders on its soil were making statements disparaging peace and ties with Israel and America. Jordan ejected Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal and other top leaders for unspecified "illegal activities," shut down Hamas offices and clamped down on lower-ranking members.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Security Chaos and Proliferation of Weapons
Attacks on Officials and Public Institutions
27 August 2008
Bomb Explodes in al-Azhar University Campus in Gaza
On Tuesday, 26 August 2008, a bomb exploded in a classroom in the campus of al-Azhar University in the west of Gaza City, but causing no casualties.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 26 August 2008, a bomb placed in a classroom on the first floor of al-Katiba building, which is designed for humanitarian studies college, at al-Azhar University in the west of Gaza City. The room was heavily damaged, but no casualties were reported. A number of college students had attended an exam in the room shortly before the explosion.
It is worth noting that acts of violence were reported on Sunday, 24 August 2008, between supporters of Hamas and Fatah blocs at the university, in which a number of students and administrative staff members were attacked.
PCHR is gravely concerned over this latest attack, which is part of the state of security chaos prevailing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
PCHR calls for respecting university life and academic freedoms.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: email@example.com, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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woensdag 27 augustus 2008
In addition, Hezbollah has built a network of sophisticated underground bunkers in some 150 villages throughout south Lebanon in recent months. These bunkers can hold up to 15 fighters, plus rockets and rocket launchers, and in the event of war with Israel, could serve either as missile-launching bases or as ambushes for Israeli ground troops. Neither the UN forces in Lebanon nor the Lebanese Army has done anything to stop construction of these bunkers.
UK union posts link to anti-Semitic article
Jonny Paul, London , THE JERUSALEM POST
A member of the British academic union that voted to reintroduce a boycott of Israeli academia has posted a link on the union's Web site to an anti-Semitic article on the Web site of former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Jenna Delich, a member of the University and College Union, posted a message on the UCU Web site's activist list with a link to the article.
Delich's message was in support of a colleague who backs the boycott call. It reads: "John, in support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading: www. davidduke.com/general/humanitarian-disaster-595.html. No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves, Jenna."
The article, "Racism, not Defense, at the Heart of Israeli Politics," is an attack on the "Israeli oligarchs" and was circulated to hundreds of the union's active members. It was written by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist named Joe Quinn.
In the article he writes: "There is much evidence to warrant an in-depth investigation of the role played by agents of Israel in the 9/11 attacks. Yet the ubiquitous, tiresome and completely baseless threat of being labelled "anti-Semitic" for criticizing the actions of the Israeli government effectively prevents all but the most courageous from following the leads. Coincidence? We think not...
"Just what level of power do Israeli interests wield in the halls of power in the US that any investigation into Israeli spying activities on US soil against US intelligence agencies can be so completely quashed? Would this constitute a level of power and control that would allow those interests to carry off a terrorist attack like 9/11 and have it blamed on 'Arab terrorists?'"
Quinn links to the Web site of convicted Holocaust-denier David Irving saying: "On the morning of 9/11 and just as the WTC towers were crumbling, the five Israelis were caught doing the 'happy dance' as they videotaped the Twin Towers fall." The piece closes with the claim: "Either someone does something about these sick psychopaths, or they, and their kind in Washington and around the world, will destroy us all."
The link was discovered by Engage, a group of left-wing trade unionists and academics active in the anti-boycott campaign.
Dr. David Hirsh, lecturer at University of London's Goldsmiths College and editor of the Engage Web site, said: "Since 2003 academic unions have been dominated by a campaign to exclude Israelis, and nobody else, from UK campuses. We have warned the [UCU] general-secretary on numerous occasions that this campaign has imported anti-Semitic ways of thinking into our union, she either didn't understand or didn't care. That the union is now circulating racist material should be understood as a manifestation of its institutional anti-Semitism; it cannot be written off as yet another random accident."
Hirsh said Delich's e-mails on the activist list had already been the subject of two formal complaints to the union. However, the UCU judged that the evidence was unpersuasive.
Dr. Jon Pike, a member of the UCU national executive but speaking in a personal capacity, said: "I'm not surprised that anti-Semitic material has again dropped into my inbox from the union activists' list. What is shocking is the failure of the union's internal procedures to do anything about this. UCU prides itself on being an anti-racist union. In fact, it is probably the most complacent public institution in Britain in relation to increasing anti-Semitism and the leadership turns a blind eye, or worse, to the racism in the union. Behind all this is the campaign of discrimination against Israeli academics which is fostered by some in the union and encouraged by the leadership."
Eve Garrard, senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Keele University in Staffordshire, said: "This is precisely the kind of thing which drove me recently to resign from the UCU. It has become a union which is complacent about anti-Semitism: It regards prejudicial hostility toward Jews, from within the union itself, as something too unimportant for it to bother with. I didn't feel able to remain in an institution which treats anti-Semitism indulgently, as a special exception to a generally anti-racist stance."
The UCU activist e-mail list contains around 700 members. Any union member may subscribe and the list is administrated and monitored by the union.
"Anti-Semitism is routinely tolerated on the activist list when it is expressed in the language of hostility to Israel," Hirsh said. "Only a small group of Jews and anti-racists have been standing up against this culture on the list. Some have been excluded from the list on trumped up charges; others have been driven off the list by continual accusations of bad faith. Some have left the union because they cannot bear to pay their dues to what they consider to be an anti-Semitic organization."
In May, the UCU voted on a motion at its annual conference in Manchester to reintroduce an academic boycott of Israel. The called on union members "to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating."
Iran has been holding several rounds of talks with senior IAEA officials for clarification about intelligence reports that suggested Iran illicitly tried to design atomic bombs. Iran has said it is not the IAEA's job to delve into such allegations.Asked about the talks, Saeedi said: "Iran will try to answer the agency's questions within the framework of its commitments. Our ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency are continuing and are on the basis of our legal commitments."
Iran building second nuclear plant, says top Iranian official
"We are involved in the design phase of this power station," the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Mohammad Saeedi, said, referring to plans for a second plant to be built in the area of Darkhovin in southwest Iran.
Arab League chief praises activists who challenged Gaza siege
By Barak Ravid
Senior political sources in Jerusalem said that the fact that Israel allowed the boats to reach Gaza "took the wind out of the sails of the left-wing activists who were seeking to create a provocation."
Women in Gaza Prepare to Become Suicide Bombers
Following are excerpts from a TV report on female Palestinian suicide bombers, which aired on Al-Jadid/New TV on August 19, 2008.
"When the Goal is the Defense of the Homeland - There Is No Difference between Man and Woman"
Reporter: "This elderly Palestinian woman, named Fatima Al-Najjar, led women's demonstrations at the entrance to the town of Beit Hanoun in the winter of 2006, calling upon the occupation to leave her town and stop the killing and destruction. But despite her advanced age, she decided to take a different path."
Fatima Al-Najjar: "I sacrifice myself for the sake of Allah, the homeland, and Al-Aqsa. I ask Allah to accept my sacrifice."
Reporter: "Fatima Al-Najjar blew herself up near several soldiers of the occupation, thus joining the many Palestinian women before her who chose martyrdom over a life of humiliation - Ayat Al-Akhras, Hanadi Jaradat, and Rim Al-Riyashi, who left her two children behind and decided to blow herself up at the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza. She left her two children an unforgettable lesson on the struggle.
"When the goal is the defense of the homeland, there is no difference between man and woman. Here the women train and learn how to confront the enemy, which plundered the land and besieged their people. Dozens of young Palestinian women undergo training every year - university students, mothers, and working women. They know that their role in the conflict is not restricted to nursing the sick and caring for the children, and that what they are doing here might just change the equation."
"The Mothers and Daughters of Palestine Believe that Death for the Sake of a Free Palestine is a Cheap Price to Pay, Compared to a Life of Humiliation Under the Boots of the Occupation"
Reporter: "This young woman, who calls herself 'Lover of Al-Quds,' has set out more than once on combat operations, some of which were successful and others not. But she is determined to continue."
"Lover of Al-Quds": "This is the belt we wear around our waists, so that we can detonate ourselves at the push of a button. This is a safety button, and so is this. We won't explode unless we press this button. When God instills the will in our hearts... Our strength lies not in the body, but in the heart. If the heart so desires and we are inspired by God to set out...
Every female martyrdom-seeker is inspired by Allah."
Reporter: "'Lover of Al-Quds' is about to be married, but she has told her fiancé: 'If my land calls me, I will respond to the call.' She will not sit at home, awaiting the soldiers of the occupation. Instead, she will go out to confront them, wearing her explosives belt, with which she never parts."
"Lover of Al-Quds": "Even if the Jews come on my wedding day, I will go out to confront them in my wedding gown. Nothing will stop me from committing martyrdom. I have given up all my dreams and aspirations to become a martyrdom-seeker. I have lived an ordinary life. I have lots of free time, I go in and out, I draw - just like any other girl. But when it is the will of Allah that we become martyrs, I will cast all this aside."
Reporter: "The mothers and daughters of Palestine believe that death for the sake of a free Palestine is a cheap price to pay, compared to a life of humiliation under the boots of the occupation. They believe that the upbringing of men requires mothers whose actions do not fall short of the actions of the men."
dinsdag 26 augustus 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Kuwaiti Liberal to Arabs and Muslims: Stop Worldwide Bloodshed
The following are excerpts from the article:
"Half a Century of Conflagration Wars and Struggle in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, North Africa, Iraq and the [Persian] Gulf"
"Forty, 50, 60 years of bloodshed and tanks, of wars and resistance, of destroyed buildings and lost ideals, of weeping and wailing, of the murdered and the displaced. Over half a century of wars, demonstrations, shops set on fire, airplanes blown up, revolutions Glory to the Arabs and disgrace upon their enemies.
"Over half a century of compulsory military service, of the allocation of millions [of dollars] for weapons that will never be used and if they are, then only to add to destruction. [Over half a century] of neglecting all aspects of civilian life, political stability, and economic development for the sake of defending the honor of the nation, foiling enemy schemes, facing conspiracies, and thousands of other false catchwords.
"Half a century of conflagration wars and struggle in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, North Africa, Iraq and the [Persian] Gulf; wars that last many years and claim tens and [even] hundreds of thousands of victims; wars that end quickly but cause losses of millions and billions [of dollars]. The youth of the nation are called to arms, and the mind of the nation is enchained by the demands of struggle. All [other] countries progress and develop, while the Arabs and the Muslims move from one war to another, from one crisis to another, from one terrorist act to another, from one front to another, from one jihadist and Islamist group to another...
"The Moroccan [man] slaps in his own face with the bombings in Casablanca. A bereaved Algerian woman weeps over her sons and brothers, who were murdered by da'wa and jihad groups and thrown into a bottomless pit. Egypt oscillates between [heeding] a call for war and a call for peace, between those who want to build tens of thousands of schools and factories and those who want to send tens of thousands of jihad fighters to Lebanon.
"Sudan has ended the war in the south and is already embroiled in the Darfur war Righteous resistance is destroying Iraq's future, as terrorist forces become [increasingly] expert at blowing up markets and murdering people. Dozens of highly dangerous organizations threaten various Gulf states, Iraq, Egypt, and the entire Arab world. [And all this is] in spite of international forces, which are combating terrorist activities and monitoring [the movements of] thousands of Arabs and Muslims."
"Lebanon Used to Be a Lovely Rose, a Blooming Oasis in the Desert Overnight, It was Transformed Into a [Wasteland] Of Ruins, [Running With] Blood and Tears"
"Lebanon used to be a lovely rose, a blooming oasis in the desert. Overnight, it was transformed into a [wasteland] of ruins, [running with] blood and tears The Arabs and the Muslims ignored the destruction, war, and death in Lebanon. To them, the most important thing is the honor of the nation, its solid position, the resistance, the struggle against the new Middle East plan, and a thousand other false new slogans. This is what the Arabs and the Muslims shouted in 1948 in the face of sensible Palestinians, in 1974 to the sane among the Egyptians, in 1990 to the Kuwaitis, in 2003 to the Iraqis, and today are shouting to the Lebanese. At demonstrations everyone is yelling: We don't care about destruction; we don't care about death, let the war continue another ten or even a thousand years."
"Ours is a Nation That Has Engraved Its Name in Death, Bloodshed, and Gunpowder"
"Ours is a nation that has engraved its name in death, bloodshed, and gunpowder. The truth is that we have an enormous quantity of these [commodities], and for some time now, we have been dealing them out to others and exporting them to Europe and the U.S. I would like to say that I want to surrender my weapon to the nearest [center] for the collection of weapons and ammunition. I want to say that people in the Arab world and in the countries of the Muslim world have had enough bloodshed, violence, murder, scenes of explosions and destruction, and of wailing women, striking themselves [as a sign of mourning].
"I would like to shout to the Arabs and the Muslims: Oh, people! Enough! Oh, [champions] of war, struggle, jihad, and honor! Enough! Life in our homeland has been destroyed. By the doors of the embassies of the French and British, against whose colonialism we fought, stand crowds of young people belonging to the new generation, who are applying for entry visas. The U.S., whose flag we burn at every demonstration, is the one safeguarding peace in the countries of the Arab and Muslim world, as well as in many Third World countries
"We do not want to stand firm on the resistance front.
"We do not want to have our lives destroyed, our homes reduced to ruins, our children killed, our bridges torn down, our wives widowed, our blood spilled in your incessant wars, which you launch rashly and from which you withdraw without having learned any lessons."
"We Want Peace and Quiet to Prevail in Our Country for the Next Fifty Years"
"We want peace and quiet to prevail in our country for the next 50 years; we will try to live in tranquility, security, and peace. We want our seedlings to grow, [our cattle's] udders to be filled with milk, our trees to yield fruit, our products to sell. We want our youth to have higher education, our schools, universities, and banks to burgeon, our cities and markets to grow, and us to enjoy life. We want to restore our cultural honor and our reputation as seekers of peace and wellbeing, which was trampled by your riders and your chariots [of war].
"We want no war, no warfare, no death and destruction; we don't want a blood-soaked, exploding world. Oh, [champions] of war, jihad and resistance! We don't want this blood-soaked, exploding world that is oozing misery, adversity, and destruction a world where at every corner one can hear the wails of bereaved women, the screams of frightened children imploring for help, or the groans of the wounded who are about to die. We do't want it, we don't want it
"We don't want [it anymore]!"
(1) www.middleeasttransparent.com, May 26, 2008.
Likud MK Gilad Erdan on Monday blasted the move as a stupid and contemptible act, saying that "killers of Israel" were being released by a failed government as a present to a weak.
ANALYSIS / On verge of Rice visit, Israel and PA far from peace accord
The respective political interests of all those involved is obvious. Olmert is due to step down and wants to end his shortened tenure with a diplomatic achievement. Livni and Barak, who will soon face voters in elections, would prefer to wait for him to go. The prime minister rejects their criticism. His aides say that he is not rushing, and will not relinquish any essential Israeli interests for the sake of a mere document. The principles of the agreement are clear, the aides say, all those involved in it favor the agreement, and it would be a shame to miss this opportunity because of domestic political differences.
2 Qassams land in western Negev; Israel closes Gaza crossings
At around 16:35 pm the "Color Red" siren sounded, and a few seconds later an explosion was heard just outside the southern town.
At around 8 pm another rocket fired from northern Gaza landed near a kibbutz located within Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council limits. No injuries or damage were reported in that attack either.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his deputy, Matan Vilnai decided to close the Gaza borders to all goods crossings on Tuesday in response to the Qassam rocket fire towards Israel.
Last week a similar response was enacted.
More than 20 rockets were fired toward Israel since the ceasefire went into effect in June. On Tuesday a rocket fired by Palestinians in north Gaza landed in a kibbutz located within the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council limits. The Qassam landed in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.
Two days prior to that attack a rocket exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council area in south Israel. About two weeks ago another Qassam fired from Gaza landed near a kindergarten in Sderot. No injuries were reported.
First Published: 08.25.08, 17:16
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