zaterdag 20 september 2008

Paul McCartney treedt 25 september op in Tel Aviv

Wanneer een popster in een Arabisch land wil optreden is dat prima voorzover de autoriteiten dat toestaan, maar Israel is uiteraard een ander verhaal. Allerlei anti-Israel groeperingen oefenen druk uit op McCartney om niet in Israel op te treden, en hij wordt zelfs met de dood bedreigd. Gelukkig raadpleegt hij andere bronnen, en is hij niet van plan aan deze druk en bedreigingen toe te geven.
Come Together


Paul McCartney reassured his fans in the Jewish state last week that he'll go ahead with a planned concert in Tel Aviv. "I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel," Mr. McCartney told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

If we lived in normal times, a pop star's tour schedule would not be considered news outside the entertainment media. But then again, the growing campaign to delegitimize Israel and the pressure on the ex-Beatle to cancel his concert can hardly be called normal. Mr. McCartney deserves applause for his steadfastness. "I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here," he told the Israeli paper. "I refused."

Sir Paul even received death threats. "Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim," hate preacher Omar Bakri said in his weekly Internet broadcast from Lebanon, according to the Sunday Express. "If he values his life, Mr. McCartney will not come to Israel," Mr. Bakri added, warning that "sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him."

The ex-Beatle's concert has drawn particular ire from anti-Zionists as it comes amid the Jewish state's 60th anniversary celebrations. In Western Europe, and particularly in Mr. McCartney's home country, the view that there is little to celebrate about Israel's rebirth has moved from the fringes of society to the mainstream of left-wing media and academia. In May, the union of British university lecturers renewed its push for an academic boycott of Israel.

Luckily, Mr. McCartney doesn't seem to be getting his information from the Guardian or the BBC. "I've heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another," he said in comments posted on his Web site last month.

A standard smear against Israel is that it is supposedly an apartheid state. In truth, Mr. McCartney will be performing in the only country in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as both men and women, can come together in freedom and listen to his songs.

Jenin als model voor vrede?

"Model of peace" is wat sterk uitgedrukt, maar er is wel een verandering ten goede gaande. Of die bestand is tegen de realiteiten van het Midden-Oosten, zoals zelfmoordaanslagen, corruptie, wederzijds wantrouwen etc. moet nog blijken, maar het lijkt erop dat deze aanpak 'van onderop' werkt.
Overigens eist Hamas dat Fatah de samenwerking met 'het Zionistische regime' stopzet. Zij gedijt nou eenmaal beter in chaos en ellende. Dat de gevolgen van deze nieuwe aanpak en de verwijdering van meer dan 100 checkpoints door Israel niet meteen zichtbaar zijn in een groei van de economie op de Westoever, is niet vreemd. Het duurt immers even voordat nieuwe bedrijfjes en winkels zijn opgezet.

Jenin: From terror capital to model of peace
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Last update - 20:27 20/09/2008

JENIN - All military camps are similar, and in the Middle East they also occasionally change hands, without their external appearance undergoing any significant changes. As such, Israel handed Jenin's Muqata compound over to the Palestinian security forces in 1996. Although part of it was bombed in 2001, today the compound once again serves as an active Palestinian Authority headquarters. Even the mirror next to the exit gate, a familiar sight from every Israel Defense Forces base, has remained in place. Only the slogan, "Soldier, Improve Your Appearance," has been removed by the Palestinians. All the rest is still there.

In the base's main square - once visible from the offices of the Israeli brigade commander in charge, occupied by officers the likes of Amos Malka and Yoav Galant - a sluggish Palestinian roll call was held on Monday morning. A mustachioed sergeant bombarded his policemen with orders as they marched together in three columns, still rubbing the sleep from their eyes. The whole thing was reminiscent of an IDF roll call: a mixture of uniforms and berets, uncoordinated marching and a blatant lack of enthusiasm. One policeman even answered his cell phone during the exercises.

Jenin is now the great hope of everyone who is trying to breathe new life into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In Washington, the Bush administration is nearing the end of its term; in Gaza, Hamas is consolidating its power (and in the process this week massacred several members of the extremist Durmush clan); in Jerusalem and Ramallah, officials are gradually beginning to understand that the hope of formulating a "shelf agreement" by the end of 2008 has itself been shelved - effectively making Jenin the only source of positive news in the neighborhood. The project in question began in May: Jenin has become the testing ground for the PA to restore its complete control, something it hasn't had since 2001.

The plan enjoys the substantial support of the Middle East Quartet - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - and is being implemented under the close supervision of the Americans. Israel, for its part, has significantly reduced its military activity in Jenin and its environs, eased the traffic restrictions to and from the city and is assisting in the effort to revitalize the northern West Bank's economy, by allowing Israeli Arabs to visit Jenin, among other things.

Change from the bottom up

Four and a half months after the Jenin project began, it is proving a big success. The Shin Bet security service has received very few intelligence warnings about attempts at terror attacks emanating from the region, and clashes with the IDF have almost subsided. Commerce and industry have improved slightly, and - what is most important, from the Palestinian perspective - order has returned to the streets.

In Israel, too, the realization is slowly dawning that something positive is happening here. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi recently praised the changes taking place in Jenin. The city that once saw itself as the spearhead of the intifada, from which dozens of deadly suicide terrorists emerged, who carried out murderous attacks in Israel, is now a source of relatively good news.

There is no mistaking the fact that this is a different Jenin. Visiting the city this week, it was markedly apparent that there were no armed gangs prowling the streets. Instead, one could sense the overwhelming presence of the Palestinian security forces. Three vehicles of the various security services were deployed at a central junction on the southern approach to the city, containing a total of 12 policemen. Their commander, Sgt. Ibrahim Habas of the Palestinian National Security force, explains that his men's main job is to maintain order. "We operate both against car thieves and against what you refer to as terror organizations. If we see someone walking around with a Kalashnikov without a permit, we will arrest him and confiscate the weapon."

His men look alert and disciplined, but their equipment and uniforms are still a motley mix. The instructions regarding the bearing of arms are also flexible (the safety catches of some rifles are released whereas others are closed). Even in the Jenin refugee camp, sight of the bloody battle during Operation Defense Shield in April 2002, there is no trace of armed wanted men. Zacharia Zubeidi is retired and his successors are nowhere to be found. It is impossible to compare the way the camp looks today with how it looked from an Israeli armed personnel carrier the day after the 2002 battle. At what was then "ground zero," where Israeli bulldozers demolished dozens of houses, new houses have been built, gleaming white in comparison with the battered facade of the older houses.

The changes can largely be accredited to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is proving to be the most impressive politician we have seen on the Palestinian side for years (and who is more successful at delivering results than even many of his Israeli counterparts). But there is another important patron of Jenin's success: the U.S. administration, and mainly its two senior security envoys to the region, Gen. James Jones and Gen. Keith Dayton. Israel, which initially treated the American ideas with suspicion and even disdain, is gradually being forced to admit that it is the Americans who have helped bring about the impressive change.

This initial skepticism stemmed, among other things, from Dayton's failure in Gaza, where he relied on the PA forces until the last moment, a few days before they were battered by Hamas in June 2007. But the West Bank, at least for now, is not Gaza, and this time the process is far more organized and calculated.

It turns out that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds Jones in high regard. His staff includes a regular presence representing all of the administration's strong elements, from the vice president to the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the CIA. He also regularly updates the headquarters on the two presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. As the Annapolis process seems to have reached a dead end, the Americans have switched to the idea of fomenting change from the grass roots up. In order to augment the achievement, which will be credited to Bush once his term ends, the U.S. is now looking for a way to apply the program to additional West Bank locales. Fayyad suggested Hebron, but Israel and the U.S. have reservations, fearing that friction with the settlers could cause the project to flop. Another possibility, which is being examined more seriously, is Tul Karm.

The commander of Beaufort

The close relations with the Americans have brought about a change in the status of the Palestinian National Security forces: They are more professional, less corrupt and accorded respect by other groups. This week, members of the force's fourth division embarked on a U.S.-led training exercise in Jordan.

Suleiman Umran is the force's Jenin brigade commander. During a conversation in his office in Jenin's Muqata, he says the friction with the armed men was less serious than one would have thought. A first test came when armed men shot and killed a Force 17 (presidential guard) officer. Umran used the crisis to stage a show of force, removing the wanted men from the municipal hospital, which they had forcibly turned into their headquarters by removing the medical staff from one of its wings. "Any resident you ask will tell you: We have restored security to the city," he boasts.

Umran, a veteran member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was born in the village of Dir Hateb, near Nablus, but spent many years in exile, following then-PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. In 1981 he served as the commander of the Beaufort outpost in South Lebanon, but he was transferred after a few months, before the fortress was captured by the Golani Brigade in the first Lebanon war. He has heard of the film "Beaufort," but he hasn't seen it yet. "I'm working hard here," he explains.

Talking about Israel, Umran has many complaints: IDF forces deliberately enter Tubas to demonstrate a presence there; the IDF still carries out many overnight arrests in Jenin; the Israeli army is slow in responding to requests for assistance in improving the mobility of the Palestinian forces, and also delays issuing permits for equipment for scattering demonstrations. The entry of cars into the city via the Jalameh crossing is being delayed, "because you still haven't installed electric gates. How long is that supposed to take? Is that the way you want to attack Iran, too?"

While some of these claims are certainly valid, it seems the Palestinians have also become accustomed to blaming Israel for everything that happens in the territories. The IDF has made several counter-claims, including that the collection of weapons is being carried out at a snail's pace: Since the beginning of the year, the PA has collected only about 800 weapons, about 80 of them rifles from Jenin. That's a drop in the bucket, relative to the amounts still hidden, which will undoubtedly be pulled out of the caches in case of a renewed conflagration with Israel or (a more likely scenario at the moment) between Fatah and Hamas.

Then of course there is the question of the prisoners. The revolving-door policy of arrests and releases continues. The Palestinians say they are forced to use these means because of a lack of detention facilities (Israel did, in fact, destroy a substantial percentage of the prisons in the territories in recent years, as part of its raids on PA facilities). An Israeli brigade commander in one sector of the West Bank explains that the level of mutual suspicion remains high. "We understand that times have changed, and we can see the improvement. But after Palestinian policemen have fired at you more than once or twice, it's hard to regain confidence in them," he says.

The main Achilles' heel remains the economy: Most West Bank citizens have yet to feel a genuine change. Although the IDF talks of an improvement, a World Bank report published this week indicates that the rate of annual growth, 0.8 percent, is very low, especially compared to the rate of population growth. Nor does the number of checkpoints removed by the IDF change the overall picture of an economy that relies mainly on the public sector and has a hard time developing an effective commercial life.

Haniyeh houdt optimistische rede bij Iftar maaltijd in Gaza concentratiekamp

Verzoenende woorden van een gematigd leider tijdens de ramadan.


Haniyeh: Olmert will go to hell; the palestinian question will remain alive
Date: 20 / 09 / 2008  Time:  09:54  

Gaza – Ma'an – "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will go to hell, and the government in Gaza, Hamas, the resistance and the Palestinian question will remain alive," said de facto Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday.

Haniyeh described "the Zionist project" as being in a stage of collapse and abatement. "The Zionist entity has no future on the Palestinian land," he said "and the Palestinian people will continue on the path of establishing an independent Palestinian state with complete sovereignty and with Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinian refugees who were displaced in 1948 will also return to their homeland."

Haniyeh's comments came during a Ramadan evening meal in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. He called on all Palestinian sectors to close ranks in the interest of the struggle against Israel. He then visited the homes of secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Ataya Abu Samhadanah who was killed by Israeli forces, and freed prisoner Abdul-Basit Al-Mahmoum to congratulate him and the family.

After the dinner, Haniyeh visited the mayor of Rafah Issa An-Nashar in his home, and performed the evening prayer and the Ramadan long evening prayer as an Imam at Al-Abrar mosque in Rafah.

*** Balanced Middle East News ***
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Hamas eist einde samenwerking Ramallah met Israel

Daarom is verzoening tussen Hamas en Fatah zo desastreus voor vrede tussen Israel en de Palestijnen, en dus ook voor de Palestijnse belangen en het vooruitzicht op een eigen staat.

Zahhar: The national dialogue must reflex tangible change
20 September 2008
Website of  Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades - the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)

Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahhar, a prominent Hamas leader, said that the movement will participate in the dialogue between the Palestinian national forces to achieve tangible changes on the ground.

He confirmed that a Hamas delegation will travel to Cairo on 7th October to meet with Egyptian officials and make the position of the movement clear about the proposed inter-Palestinian dialogue.

He added that the Egyptian official invitation included three questions to the Hamas movement mainly to know whether the movement is interested in the proposed dialogue or not.

He also said that the Hamas delegation members have not been chosen yet, but they will include people from the Gaza Strip and exile.

Asked about how optimistic he was with regard to the dialogue, he said that we have to distinguish between the dialogue and the aims behind it; "we can certainly sit together and discuss issues Abbas-Olmert style, thus we would have a successful dialogue that lead us nowhere. If, however, we want a dialogue that would result in true reconciliation, then I doubt we would succeed simply because the other party [Abbas and his group] are still tied to the Zio-American project."

He stressed that the PA leadership in Ramallah are still talking about an agreement with the Israeli occupation by the end of the year, thus they are not serious about dialogue to achieve real reconciliation but rather they want to use dialogue to buy time.

Asked whether practical steps need to be taken to facilitate reconciliation, Zahhar said: "certainly there should be practical steps to start reconciliation talks, but not here in the Gaza Strip but in Ramallah as they need to release all [political] prisoners, stop security coordination with the occupation and return the stolen property to the charitable institutions, trade unions and businesses."

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Hamas gebruikt cement voor Gaza om bunkers te bouwen

Cement voor Gaza wordt door Hamas mogelijk voor bunkers gebruikt.
Onderstaand bericht maakt helaas niet duidelijk wat voor bewijzen of aanwijzingen hiervan zijn gevonden en van wie die rapporten kwamen, maar het is geen nieuws dat Hamas humanitaire hulp en goederen bestemd voor de bevolking misbruikt om de eigen militaire macht verder op te bouwen. Sinds het staakt-het-vuren laat Israel weer meer goederen door, en is Hamas druk om de eigen militaire macht te vergroten. Dat heeft uiteraard niks met mensenrechten en vrede te maken, maar toch eisen juist allerlei mensenrechten- en vredesorganisaties dat Israel de grenzen volledig opent.


Hamas uses cement supplied to Gaza for bunkers

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date: 19 September 2008

Maariv correspondent Amir Rapaport reveals in today's edition that Israeli security assessments are concerned over reports that Hamas has taken control of all the cement being supplied to the Gaza Strip from Israel as part of the "calm agreement" so that it is used for Hamas bunker building instead of civilian construction.
At the same time, Hamas is building a network of tunnels linking the bunkers, with the idea of using them much in the same way that the Vietcong used such a system in fighting American forces.

The security establishment is considering halting the supply of cement or at least reducing the supply of cement - but keeping supplies high enough that the "calm agreement" won't break down.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730

Kadima verdeeld na overwinning Livni, Mofaz vertrekt

De interne verkiezingen hebben Kadima diep verdeeld en leiden tot het vertrek van Mofaz en mogelijk enkele vertrouwelingen die een prominente positie in de partij hadden.
Kadima divided after Livni's victory, Mofaz exit
On the eve of the Kadima primary, Shaul Mofaz was asked about threats by Tzipi Livni and Roni Bar-On to quit Kadima if he won. "Livni is not a loyal person," he said angrily. "Kadima is holding democratic elections for the first time and MKs will refuse to accept the results?"

He pledged that if he lost, he would stay and help the elected leader.

Thursday, after Livni won the primary, Mofaz quit. His confidants said he was deeply hurt. For weeks the media portrayed him as a wheeler-dealer, a functionary, a politician of the "old" sort versus the fresh, new, "other" politician. He had swallowed his pride, but last night he felt he had fallen into an ambush set up by the media and academia. Keeping the polling stations open longer, while broadcasting the erroneous exit polls on three channels 15 minutes before the polls' closing broke him.

His people said that dozens of voters standing in line heard the exit polls predicting a clear victory for Livni and simply turned around and went home. Is this what he deserves after 40 years of impeccable military and security service? they asked.

But it wasn't just the insult. Mofaz does not regard Livni highly. He cannot imagine working for her, reporting to her, waiting outside her office. For him the razor-thin loss was the most galling. Had he lost by a wide margin he wouldn't have flinched.

His resignation statement was dignified. He blamed nobody. He was a bit vague on the timetable but he is not likely to change his mind. After all, he is an officer and a gentleman.

His resignation is a harsh blow to Livni and Kadima. Since the party's establishment, Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Mofaz have resigned, each for his own reasons. Ehud Olmert will go soon and Haim Ramon may be on his way out. If he goes, Livni will be in trouble. Thursday she lost Kadima's most prominent Mizrahi representative as well as the man most identified with security.

Some observers speculated Thursday that Mofaz was heading back to Likud, to be Benjamin Netanyahu's defense minister. This is unlikely. Even Mofaz knows there's a limit to the number of times a man can flip-flop. Besides, Netanyahu has already promised that position to five people.

Mofaz's announcement left his supporters - ministers and MKs - stunned and lost. Nobody had expected the move. His people were convinced that after the election results he would demand the foreign ministry. An old acquaintance said he tried to find Mofaz Thursday morning but was told he had gone home to rest and would wake up in the evening. "I immediately suspected something," he said. "A man like Mofaz going to rest on such a day? That's so unlike him."

Related articles:
  • ANALYSIS / Livni's first priority will be to de-Olmertize Kadima
  • Kadima primary: Key facts about Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
  • ANALYSIS / Tzipi Livni is Israel's Barack Obama

  • Tzipi Livni houdt coalitie zonder Shas voor mogelijk

    Een Shas-vrije coalitie, dat is lef hebben. Het alternatief zou bestaan uit maar liefst 6 partijen, en lijkt dus geen stabiele coalitie op te kunnen leveren. De versnippering van de politiek en de macht van de religieuze partijen spelen de Israëlische politiek al jaren parten. Net als in Nederland lukt het de grote partijen (Likoed, Kadima en Labor) niet meer om grote groepen kiezers aan zich te binden.

    Livni says Shas-free coalition possible

    Sep. 17, 2008 staff, gil hoffman and AP, THE JERUSALEM POST


    New Kadima leader Tzipi Livni began her efforts to form a new government and become prime minister on Thursday by threatening Shas Chairman Eli Yishai that she could form a coalition without his party.

    Livni invited Yishai to her home in north Tel Aviv where they discussed possible political scenarios following the expected resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on October 2, the day after Rosh Hashana. Livni told Yishai that she wanted to maintain the same coalition factions and guidelines, but that she had other options.

    One scenario that has been discussed among Livni's associates is a coalition of Kadima, Labor, the two pensioners' parties, United Torah Judaism and Meretz. MKs in both Meretz and UTJ are eager to join the coalition.

    "I am against sticking to our seats in the opposition for no reason," UTJ MK Avraham Ravitz said. "This government is not anti-religious and we have no problem serving under a woman. We can advance our agenda better in the government."

    In the meeting, Yishai warned Livni that a Shas-less government would not be able to last very long. He raised his parties' two key demands of raising child welfare allowances and preventing negotiations with the Palestinians on the fate of Jerusalem, and said that for Shas to remain in the coalition, Livni's ally, Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, would have to ease his "anti-welfare policies."

    "If Livni will be willing to contend with the million hungry children and will not divest from our diplomatic assets, especially Jerusalem, Shas will enter Livni's government and if not, we won't be there," Yishai said. "She must provide answers on poverty. We won't give up on our ideals."

    Shas officials expressed doubt that Livni could build a new government. They said she would be caught between her desires to form a coalition and to avoid looking like she gave into the blackmail of coalition horse-trading.

    Labor also made an effort to play hard-to-get before coalition negotiations have even begun. When Labor Chairman Ehud Barak called Livni to congratulate her on her victory, he turned down her request to schedule a meeting with him.

    Olmert will announce his intention to resign at Sunday's cabinet meeting, but he is not expected to formally submit his resignation letter to President Shimon Peres until October 2, the day after Rosh Hashana. Olmert's excuses for delaying his resignation include the holiday, Peres's trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly and the need for the president to consult with the Knesset's 13 faction heads over a seven-day period before entrusting Livni with forming a new government.

    Livni hopes to form a government by the time the Knesset returns to session on Monday, October 27. It was still unclear Thursday night whether she would form a coalition negotiating team.

    Many world leaders congratulated Livni on Thursday, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the German and British foreign ministers.


    vrijdag 19 september 2008

    Hielp Pius XII de Joden tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog?

    Pius XII blijft omstreden. Mijn eigen kennis reikt weinig verder dan de speelfilm over de priester en de SS-er die een beroep om hem gingen doen om de Jodenvervolging en concentratiekampen in een kerstrede aan de kaak te stellen. Zij waren zwaar teleurgesteld toen hij zweeg en zich alleen in zeer algemene bewoordingen over het leed van de oorlog en haar onschuldige slachtoffers uitsprak. Of het historisch is weet ik niet, maar in de film gaf hij als motivatie dat hij niet met twee maten kon meten: als hij expliciet de Nazi-misdaden noemde, moest hij evenzo de Sovjet-misdaden noemen, en dat zou de samenwerking tussen de geallieerden schaden.
    Na de beroemde brief van de Nederlandse bisschoppen die zich tegen de Jodenvervolging uitsprak begin augustus 1942, werden prompt alle katholieke Joden opgepakt en de meesten gedeporteerd en vermoord. Waarmee ik maar het dilemma wil aanstippen van het prediken van moraal tegenover een regime dat geen moraal kent.
    Willekeurig het thema opgegoogled, kom ik in een boekrecensie (waarvoor ik verder niet borg kan staan, ik ken de site en recensent niet, maar is schijnbaar verbonden aan de Vlaamse VLD) de volgende vragen tegen:
    Waarom sloot men zo vroeg een Concordaat met Hitler waardoor nazi-Duitsland voor de rest van de wereld een respectabele staat werd? Waarom zweeg kardinaal-staatssecretaris Pacelli en de latere paus Pius XII over de Neurenbergse rassenwetten die de joden tot Untermenschen degradeerde en die het begin vormde van de Endlösung? Waarom keerde de kerk zich niet tegen de pogroms die gebeurden tijdens de beruchte Kristallnacht in november 1938? Waarom gaven de kerken hun archieven vrij waardoor de nazi's konden vaststellen welke personen behoorden tot het christendom en wie in een ver verleden joodse voorouders had, wat leidde tot een zekere dood? Waarom steunden de pausen fascisten zoals Mussolini, Hitler, Salazar, Franco, Pavelic, Tiso, Pétain vanaf het begin en bleven ze hen steunen tot het einde van de oorlog en zelfs nog daarna? Waarom verzette de kerk zich zo tegen de 'denazificatie' na de oorlog? Waarom hielpen katholieke bisschoppen nazimisdadigers ontsnappen naar Zuid-Amerika zoals Eichmann, Mengele, Bormann, Barbie en Rauff? Waarom werd geen enkele hooggeplaatste nazi geëxcommuniceerd? Waarom werd Mijn Kampf nooit opgenomen op de lijst van verboden boeken? De rode draad is duidelijk. De kerk probeerde haar posities veilig te stellen en voerde een opportunistische koers, waarbij ze miljoenen mensen in nood in de steek liet. Een dergelijke houding heeft een naam: 'schuldig verzuim'. En in andere gevallen, zoals in Slowakije en Kroatië was er zelfs sprake van actieve betrokkenheid en medeplichtigheid.
    Voor de oorlog zweeg de kerk dus blijkbaar ook over de Jodenvervolging, terwijl men geen moeite had het communisme te verguizen.
    Pope Benedict: Pius XII 'spared no effort' to help Jews during WWII
    By Reuters
    Last update - 00:23 19/09/2008
    Pope Benedict on Thursday forcefully defended his wartime predecessor Pius XII against accusations that he did not do enough to help the Jews, saying Pius "spared no effort" on their behalf during World War II.

    The pope spoke to members of the U.S.-based Pave the Way Foundation, a mixed Jewish-Catholic group which held a symposium in Rome on the papacy of Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958.

    The symposium prepared a 200-page compilation of documents, diplomatic cables and newspaper clippings from the period -- some of them previously unpublished -- showing Pius did much to help Jews during the war and was thanked by Jewish leaders.
    "Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered, supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes," Benedict said.

    "One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favor either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church," Benedict told the group at his summer residence south of Rome.

    Some Jews have maintained that Pius did not do enough to save Jews, while the Vatican and those Jews who support him say he worked behind the scenes to help because more direct intervention would have worsened the situation.

    But Benedict praised the symposium for drawing attention "to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews."

    Gary Krupp, an American Jew who is president and founder of Pave the Way, told the pope the group's investigation "directly contradicts the negative perception of the pope's war time activities."

    Camp survivors thanked the pope

    Pope Benedict noted that in November 1945, some six months after the end of the war, 80 delegates of German concentration camps came to the Vatican to thank Pius.

    The symposium's documents included numerous newspaper clippings of Jewish leaders thanking Pius during and after the conflict and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir saying: "When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims."

    The issue of Pius' papacy is one of the most difficult in Catholic-Jewish relations and the pope said that nearly five decades after his death "not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light."

    The Vatican will on Oct. 9 mark the 50th anniversary of Pius' death with a conference and photo exhibition.

    Historians have been calling on the Vatican to open up all its archives on the period.

    The Vatican says while some of the archives of the period are still closed for organizational reasons, most of the significant documentation regarding Pius is already open to scholars.

    Last year, the Vatican's saint-making department voted in favor of a decree recognizing Pius's "heroic virtues," a major hurdle in a long process toward possible sainthood that began in 1967. But Pope Benedict has so far not approved the decree.

    Some Jewish groups have said the Vatican should freeze the beatification process but others say it is an internal Church matter.

    Related articles:
  • ADL urges Pope to suspend Pius sainthood over Holocaust inaction
  • Vatican: Pius XII sainthood process not stalled
  • Rebel Catholics: Pope caved on prayer to convert Jews

    IAEA Atoom Agentschap toont foto's aanpassing Iraanse raketten voor nucleaire kop

    Het VN Atoom Agentschap geldt met name onder linkse mensen als zeer betrouwbaar. Wat zeggen ze hierop?
    'Links' beweert tevens dat de opmerking van Achmadinejad over het 'van de kaart vegen van Israel' een verkeerde vertaling was door Westerse persbureaus, en de goede man het helemaal niet als een dreigement had bedoeld.
    Neen, zijn speech werd door het Iraanse persbureau zo naar buiten gebracht. Omdat er veel misverstanden waren over zijn inderdaad wat onduidelijke formulering, hebben Achmadinejad en zijn trawanten nadien nog regelmatig herhaald dat ze Israel toch echt wel weg willen hebben, gisteren nog maar eens voor de Oostindisch dove progressievelingen.
    Neen, hij zegt inderdaad niet letterlijk dat Iran een atoomraket op Tel Aviv wil gooien. Ik wil Achmadinejad niet met Hitler vergelijken (G-d verhoede!), maar zelfs die zei in zijn vlammende speeches niet expliciet dat hij alle Joden wou gaan vergassen. Hij zei dat ze minderwaardig waren, geen bestaansrecht hadden en zouden boeten voor wat ze Duitsland hadden aangedaan. De geesten rijp maken heet zoiets...

    IAEA shows photos implicating Iran in nuclear missile development

    The IAEA UN nuclear monitoring organization showed documents and photographs on Tuesday suggesting Iran secretly tried to modify a missile cone to fit a nuclear bomb. Tehran again dismissed the findings as forged. Previous IAEA reports had left the impression that Iran was more or less in compliance with IAEA requirements other than continued enrichment of uranium. A USA National Intelligence Estimate report in 2007 had concluded that Iran was no longer developing nuclear weapons.
    Iran stated that an International Atomic Energy Agency inquiry into its nuclear activity was at a dead-end because the IAEA was demanding Tehran reveal conventional military secrets without nuclear dimensions. Iran has denied seeking atom bombs.
    The IAEA stated in a report on Monday that Iranian stonewalling had brought an agency inquiry into whether Tehran had covertly researched ways to make a nuclear bomb to a standstill.
    The IAEA wants Iran to clarify intelligence material pointing to links between Iranian projects to process uranium, test high explosives and modify a Shahab-3 missile cone in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead.
    The Islamic Republic has denied the allegations but the IAEA says Iran must substantiate its position by granting access to sites, documents and relevant officials for interviews.
    Top agency inspectors briefed its board of governors on the report's findings on Tuesday ahead of a meeting by the 35-nation body next week likely to heighten pressure on Iran to cooperate.
    Washington's IAEA envoy said the group was shown photos and documents of Iranian work on re-designing a Shabab-3 to carry what would appear to be a nuclear weapon.
    IAEA: Information on Iran is 'very credible'

    "The (IAEA) Secretariat told us the information they have is in their words, 'very credible', and they have asked iran to provide 'substantive responses' " Gregory Schulte told reporters.
    He said the meeting was told that Iran had refused IAEA requests to interview engineers involved in the work and visit their ostensibly civilian workshops, depicted in photos.
    Iran repeated that the intelligence was forged or pertained only to conventional arms. It said Iran faced extraordinary and unacceptable pressure to prove unverified allegations were wrong by revealing information vital to its national security.
    "No country would give information about its conventional military activities," Iran's IAEA ambassador said.
    "I said in this briefing, 'Who in the world would believe there are a series of top secret documents U.S. intelligence found in a laptop regarding a Manhattan Project-type nuclear (bomb programme) in Iran and none of these documents bore seals of 'high confidential' or 'secret'?" Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.
    "This is simply unbelievable. This matter is over, as far as we are concerned," he said.
    Western concern was heightened by a revelation in the IAEA report that Iran may have had "foreign expertise" helping in experiments on a detonator applicable to an implosion-type nuclear blast occurring at high altitude.
    Informed diplomats said the expertise appeared not to have been given by a government such as North Korea or any remnants of the ex-A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network that supplied Iran in the past, but by other non-state actors.
    The IAEA has called for an explanation from Iran.

    'Gaza één groot concentratiekamp' volgens Lauren Booth

    Na de recente uitspraken van Desmond Tutu, huidig VN-voorzitter Miguel D'Escoto en Achmadinejad kan dit er ook nog wel bij. George Galloway, die Saddam Hoessein meermaals bezocht en Hezbollah steunt, is een geval apart. Dat Tony Blairs schoonzuster Lauren Booth zich met hem inlaat is veelzeggend. Er lijkt geen grens te zijn aan de Israel bashing en de obsessie met Israel.
    Booth had niet door dat het Ramadan was, en zag die arme Gazanen de hele dag honger lijden. Klik op de link van de JP voor de foto van een Iftar maaltijd in Gaza en Google dan een willekeurige foto van Darfoer op. Zoek de 10 verschillen...
    Het is moeilijk om een andere verklaring dan antisemitisme te vinden voor al die belachelijke aantijgingen tegen Israel.
    Ratna & Wouter
    The Jerusalem Post
    Sep 17, 2008 22:30 | Updated Sep 18, 2008 1:58

    'Gaza a massive concentration camp'

    The sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair has called Gaza a "concentration camp" and a "humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

    Journalist and activist Lauren Booth was being interviewed by left-wing anti-Israel activist George Galloway on Press TV, an Iranian English-language 24-hour news channel based in London, earlier this month.

    Galloway, who was thrown out of the Labor Party in 2003 for encouraging British troops to refuse orders while on duty in Iraq, was speaking to Booth in what he called "occupied Gaza."

    "Why are they keeping you cooped up in the concentration camp called Gaza?" he asked her.

    "I want to say thank you for using the word concentration camp because the word prison has been applied in the last few years and that's a lie. In a prison you get three meals a day, a nourishing diet, visits from outsiders and some hobbies and rehabilitation and a date for your release," she said.

    A few days before the interview, Agence France-Presse released a picture of Booth shopping in a grocery store in Gaza.

    Booth and other pro-Palestinian activists entered the Strip with the Free Gaza protest boats that came from Cyprus on August 23. Most of the protesters left on the same boats at the beginning of September; she and several others chose to remain in Gaza.

    Last month Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh presented her and 47 other international activists with Palestinian diplomatic passports.

    Booth has said that she is trapped in Gaza, that Egyptian and Israeli authorities have prevented her from leaving.

    Meanwhile, the Free Gaza movement says it is "broke" and is trying to raise funds for a return trip next Monday.

    "On September 22, we're going back to Gaza to expose the illegality of Israel's actions, support the suffering people of Gaza and create an open channel between Gaza and the outside world.

    "Our goal is to raise half-a-million dollars by the end of September. Please give what you can," the group said in an appeal for support.

    De gulzigheid van Hamas

    Een Arabisch commentaar op Hamas en hun rol in de ellende van de Palestijnen in Gaza.
    Hamas's Gluttony


    A few days ago, a striking statement was made by Palestinian sources in Damascus through Asharq Al-Awsat, suggesting that the Hamas Islamic movement is financially thriving.

    At a time when the people of Gaza were left without a loaf of bread, Hamas was paying approximately 18,000 militants who are associated with the movement- what amounts to 16 million dollars a month.

    This statement comes at a time when United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy, Mr. Abdulaziz Arrukban, highlighted to the Kuwaiti "Alqabas" newspaper the tragic Palestinian humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and how 60 percent of the population survives on 1.5 dollars per day, while 80 percent solely depend on aid for survival.

    This is a puzzling matter; who should we believe? The UN special envoy speaking of a tragic situation in Gaza, or rival Palestinian sects accusing the brotherhood movement of financial gluttony?

    Bewildered by the conflicting statements of Hamas's opponents and the international envoy, I came across a statement by the official spokesman of the Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, which helped put things nicely into perspective.

    Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam Brigades revealed that his group has developed into an army similar to major professional armies, in terms of the level of preparation and precision, which was achieved by the recruitment of many of Gaza's youths; the movement continues to recruit youth and develop its capabilities and its fighters.

    So how can there be talk of lifting the Gaza siege and relieving the distress of its people, while Hamas concentrates all its efforts on recruiting and providing for its thousands of fighters. It is clear that Hamas's priority is to look after its militants, at the expense of Gaza's people and their suffering! Isn't this a deliberate exploitation of their humanitarian suffering, their poverty and need?

    This also raises a pressing question regarding the ceasefire which Hamas committed to with Israel. Was it to relieve the suffering of Gaza's people and bring some order to their lives after a long period of agony? or was it a chance by Hamas to exploit and consolidate its coup against the Palestinian Authority, as well as suppressing their opponents in Gaza by firing them from their jobs in education, healthcare and other institutions in Gaza in an effort to impose its brotherhood's ideology?!

    Aside from the movement's power reinforcement in Gaza, it is obvious that the Hamas truce (as I mentioned in a previous article) comes with the instructions of keeping a low profile in Lebanon, Gaza, and other places, while all considerations indicate that Hamas's Leaders last concern is the Gaza people's suffering.

    Hamas has learned nothing from its past mistakes, and will reverse its coup and its dividing of the Palestinian front. Equally, it is not concerned with the suffering of Gaza's people, while their talk of dialogue and negotiations with Fatah is disingenuous and merely a time-stalling tactic.

    However, Hamas and its policies are not to be blamed, but those who fund it, and support it politically. They are the beneficiaries of the Palestinian cause and partners in the suffering of Gaza's people.


    Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. Mr. Alhomayed has an acclaimed and distinguished career as a Journalist and has held many key positions in the field including; Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, Managing Editor of Asharq Al-Awsat in Saudi Arabia, Head of Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper's Bureau-Jeddah, Correspondent for Al - Madina Newspaper in Washington D.C. from 1998 to Aug 2000. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs including: the BBC, German TV, Al Arabiya, Al- Hurra, LBC and the acclaimed Imad Live's four-part series on terrorism and reformation in Saudi Arabia. He is also the first Journalist to conduct an interview with Osama Bin Ladin's Mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a BA degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is based in London.


    Hoe Livni de top bereikte

    Politici met een rechtse achtergrond zijn wellicht beter in staat tot vergaande en pijnlijke concessies dan linkse politici. Het feit dat veel voormalige revisionisten nu tot het politieke centrum behoren en een twee-statenoplossing voorstaan zegt veel over de veranderingen die Israel heeft doorgemaakt. De Groot-Israel aanhangers zijn in de minderheid. Toch zal het lastig worden een stabiele coalitie te vormen, omdat iedere partij z'n eigen eisen en verlanglijstje heeft. De religieuze partijen, nodig voor een meerderheid, eisen torenhoge subsidies aan religieuze instellingen en andere privileges voor de orthodoxen, wat steeds meer weerstand oproept bij de overwegend seculiere aanhang van Kadima.

    The Winner / Persistence paved the way
    September 18, 2008

    1. The uber-objective
    Tzipi Livni is a stubborn gal. Journalists who met her in recent years while she was still a junior minister in the Sharon government came along with her for the ride to the top. They listened to her speeches and her statements, and heard the same message. I'm here because of the uber-objective, which is a Jewish and democratic state. That's why I support the establishment of a Palestinian state, on condition that it will be the national solution for all the Palestinians, just as Israel is the national solution for all the Jews. In smaller forums, Livni repeats the same exact comments, adding: "But that's between us, right?"
    Livni's persistence proved itself yesterday, with her victory in the Kadima primary. She is now only a successful coalition negotiation away from the premiership. Over the past year, she learned how to listen to advisers, and gathered around her most of the political and media team of Ariel Sharon, who ran her campaign.
    Livni is far from being Sharon. She belongs to another generation, and she doesn't have his cynical, barbed humor or his war stories. She likes to explain herself, but tends not to complain about what the press has said about her, or gripe about some journalists to their colleagues, as other politicians are wont to do. It's important to her to demonstrate self-confidence and a bit of distance. People who meet her for the first time are impressed by her frankness. At the Knesset cafeteria they like her less, because she was marked long ago as an ambitious and dangerous contender for the crown.
    Livni expresses her thoughts in writing. Her focus is less on the great idea and more on the solution to problems, and she tends to get involved in the details. That's how she cooked up what came to be known as the Livni compromise, which allowed Sharon to pass the disengagement plan in the cabinet, with the support of Benjamin Netanyahu. That's also how she drafted the Kadima platform, and how she suggested to Ehud Olmert the political way out of the Second Lebanon War.
    But in all these cases, there was someone above her who made the decisions and took responsibility. She no longer has that luxury. From now on, that will be Livni's job, and she will be put to the test by her political colleagues, the media and the public.
    2. Who chose?
    The main complaint against Livni, if she establishes a new government with her at its head, will be that she has not received a mandate from the public, but only from Kadima. The claim that only 20,000 people decided who will be the next prime minister was voiced during the campaign, and will certainly gain momentum.
    Livni is not the first person to be appointed the head of the ruling party in mid-term because of a decision by a party forum.
    Examples are David Ben-Gurion in 1955, Levi Eshkol in 1963, Golda Meir in 1969, Yitzhak Rabin in 1974 and Yitzhak Shamir in 1983. And don't forget the present prime minister, who was chosen for the post by just one person - Ariel Sharon, who appointed Olmert to be his deputy.
    The lesson to be learned from Olmert and Livni's rise to the top is that the position of vice prime minister, enshrined in law only in 2001, gives its holder a huge advantage in any future political battle.
    It is always preferable to be only a blood clot away, or only a police investigation away from the present leader. There is no doubt that this lesson will be learned from now on by politicians.
    3. The princes won
    The prime ministerial rotation between Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres two decades ago gave birth to two groups competing over the future leadership of Israel: the Likud princes against the "Group of Eight" in the Labor Party.
    One group was the children of the leaders of Beitar, the Etzel and Herut. The other were a group of young MKs who dared to express more left-wing opinions than those of the party leadership at the time.
    The princes won handily, history shows. Two of them, Netanyahu and Olmert, have already been prime minister, and Livni is on the way. The last two have experienced a radical change in their political positions, and today sound more like the Group of Eight - none of whom ever made it to the top. Not Haim Ramon, not Yossi Beilin, not Amir Peretz and not Avrum Burg.
    In the next election Netanyahu and Livni will face off against each other, the polls say. Bibi against Tzipi. The son of the historian who was Jabotinsky's secretary, against the daughter of the operations officer of the Etzel. It will be a sweet victory, even if belated, for the Revisionist camp, which has turned from a "small but right minority" to become the political center.

    Achmadinejad: 'Israel zal op geen enkele wijze overleven'

    Tesamen met de uitspraken van de huidige president van de Algemene Vergadering Miguel D'Escoto en Desmond Tutu is dit weer een fraai potje Israel bashing. Als enig ander land zo het middelpunt van bedreiging en haat zou zijn, zou dat een rel veroorzaken, maar dat zo over Israel wordt gesproken is heel normaal. Ondertussen blijven allerlei mensen om het hardst roepen dat kritiek op Israel niet zou mogen, dat Zionisten zulke lange tenen hebben en dat de internationale gemeenschap Israel maar z'n gang laat gaan.
    Hoe zou het nou komen dat de enige Joodse staat zo het mikpunt van woede en haat is? Waar komt die obsessie met Israel toch vandaan?
    Ahmadinejad: Israel won't survive in any shape or form
    By News Agencies
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out again at Israel on Thursday, saying that it won't survive in any shape or form.

    Speaking to reporters, the hard-line leader smirked at a former mantra of the Israeli right of a Greater Israel that would include Palestinian territories. The idea has since been abandoned, with Israeli consensus now that there will be a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

    Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the idea of a Greater Israel, which includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, is a thing of the past, and that anyone who still thinks in this way is delusional.
    Ahmadinejad said that "while some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of a Lesser Israel has expired, too."

    The press conference was an opportunity for Ahmadinejad to speak to the media at length before traveling to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

    The Iranian president repeated his previous anti-Israel comments, calling the Holocaust by Nazi Germany during World War II a fabrication and saying that Israel is perpetrating a holocaust on the Palestinian people.

    The remarks appear to be part of Ahmadinejad's effort to deflect growing criticism at home over failed economic policies and recent comments by some close associates. Iran's inflation hit 27.6 percent last month, while Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai was recently quoted as saying Iranians were friends of all people in the world - even Israelis.

    Ahmadinejad, known for virulent anti-Israeli rhetoric, said in 2005 that Israel should be wiped off the map and later called the Holocaust a myth. Most recently, he described the Jewish state as a germ of corruption.

    Speaking about Iran's controversial nuclear program, Ahmadinejad claimed the UN nuclear watchdog agency has no right to consider documents provided by the U.S. alleging that Tehran sought to make an atomic bomb.

    Ahmadinejad said regulations under which the International Atomic Energy Agency operates do not allow it to act on claims by any government. On Monday, an IAEA report said Iran had blocked a UN investigation into allegations it tried to make nuclear arms and that the inquiry was deadlocked.

    Ahmadinejad said the report verified the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is only for electricity production, and urged the West to end its hostile policy toward Iran.

    Iran is already under three sets of sanctions by the UN Security Council over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. Ahmadinejad on Thursday insisted the enrichment would not be stopped.

    "Let them put sanctions on us, Ahmadinejad said. We are a very strong nation," he said.

    The United States and its allies are expected to press the UN for a new round of sanctions after Iran refused to accept a recent package of economic and technological incentives in return for suspending enrichment.

    Iran denies U.S. claims that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, and insists that it has the right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to develop reactor fuel using enrichment.

    Iranian official: Our missiles can reach ships in Persian Gulf

    A top adviser of Iran's supreme leader has declared that in the event of war no ship passing through the oil-rich Gulf region would be beyond the reach of the country's missiles, a government newspaper reported on Thursday.

    Iran, embroiled in a standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions, has said it could respond to any military attack by closing the strait at the southern end of the Gulf through which about 40 percent of the world's traded oil passes.

    The United States, whose Fifth Fleet is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain, has vowed to keep shipping lanes opened.

    The West accuses Tehran of seeking to build nuclear warheads but Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, insists its aim is to master technology to make electricity. Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end the row.

    "At a time of war no ship can pass through the region of the Persian Gulf without being in the reach of the Revolutionary Guards' coast-to-sea missiles," Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a senior military adviser of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted by the Iran daily as saying.

    Rahim-Safavi earlier this week said Khamenei had put the elite Guards in charge of defending the Gulf against any enemy attacks and that they would not hesitate to "confront foreign forces."

    The comments came amid persistent speculation about a possible U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

    Iran has dismissed reports of possible U.S. or Israeli plans to strike the country, but says it would respond by attacking U.S. interests and Israel if any such assault was made.

    Iran's air force and defence units held war games this week to test equipment and boost readiness, Iranian media reported.

    Alongside the regular army, Iran has a Revolutionary Guards force viewed as guardians of the Islamic ruling system.

    The Guards have a separate command and their own air, sea and land units. They are deployed on sensitive border regions and guard key institutions and their arsenal includes the Shahab-3 missile, which reports say can reach targets in Israel.

    Related articles:
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  • Former U.S. secretaries of state say they support talks with Iran
  • Voorzitter VN vergadering wil delingsresolutie uit 1947 opnieuw inbrengen

    Het lijkt soms alsof de VN maar met één doel voor ogen is opgezet: het koste wat kost creëren van een Palestijnse staat, desnoods ten koste van Israël.
    Het is Miguel D'Escoto, nota bene een oud-Sandinist, blijkbaar ontgaan dat de Arabieren de VN resolutie uit 1947 afwezen en een oorlog begonnen. De VN had die resolutie toen kunnen afdwingen, maar deed weinig behalve voorstellen doen die nog meer aan de Arabieren tegenmoet kwamen en van een Joodse staat weinig overlieten, maar ook die werden door de Arabieren afgewezen. Tegen de verwachting in werd de oorlog door Israël gewonnen en ook de Arabische staten hadden een deel van wat een Palestijnse staat moest worden ingepikt en waren niet van plan daar een Palestijnse staat op te zetten. Zowel de Arabische staten als de Palestijnen stonden de 'bevrijding' van Palestina voor, door Israël in een volgende oorlog te verslaan. De VN heeft dat nooit duidelijk veroordeeld maar wel de PLO in 1974, twee jaar na de moord op de Israëlische Olympische ploeg, waarnemerstatus gegeven, dit zonder verder enige voorwaarden te stellen.
    Zie voor meer informatie ook: Israel en de VN
    Het feit dat er nog geen Palestijnse staat is is vooral aan de Palestijnen zelf te danken, en aan de Arabische buurlanden.  
    General Assembly chief: UN must adopt 1947 resolution on partition of Palestine
    By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent
    September 19, 2008

    Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, president of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, on Thursday urged the UN to work toward implementing UN Resolution 181, which in 1947 called for the division of Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab states.

    During a speech at the General Assembly auditorium in honor of his election, Brockmann said the UN should work without delay to fulfill its old obligation of creating an independent Palestinian state.

    "The greatest case failure of the United Nations is the lack of a Palestinian state," he said. "Article 22 of the covenant of the League of Nations pledged as a 'sacred trust' to establish a Palestinian state on a Palestinian territory that was part of the Ottoman Empire."
    Brockmann, 75, is a priest from Nicaragua who served as the country's foreign minister in the 1980s.

    The newly elected General Assembly president continued to lament the lack of a Palestinian state, saying, "At this very moment, people continue to die as a result of our incapacity to implement a resolution adopted more than 61 years ago. As the consequence, today the Palestinian situation is at the lowest, most critical point in its tragic history."

    Brockmann also criticized the UN's five permanent member nations and claimed that their "veto power has gone to their heads." He also had harsh words for the UN itself, claiming that the organization needs to undergo a process of democratization.

    The speech, which came several days before Tuesday's opening of the General Assembly, caused a stir in the auditorium and left delegates looking surprised.

    Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon told Haaretz that Thursday's speech "expressed Brockmann's personal history and his political opinions - something that is unacceptable at the UN."

    The Jewish daily Forward reported on Thursday that Brockmann is expected to participate in a dinner next week sponsored by five Christian organizations in honor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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  • Desmond Tutu in de porseleinwinkel van het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict

    Bisschop Tutu weet veel van Zuid-Afrika, niet van het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict. Onterecht wordt hij echter wel gezien als autoriteit op dat gebied, alsof iemand die de problemen in eigen land goed kan oplossen automatisch ook weet hoe een heel ander conflict, met andere oorzaken en dat dus ook een andere oplossing vergt, opgelost moet worden.
    He criticized the international community for failing to speak out against the suffering in Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, under an Israeli blockade.
    "This silence begets complicity," he told the UN Human Rights Council.
    Het westen zwijgt niet over vermeende en reële Israelische misdaden; er is een onophoudelijk luid koor dat Israel zwart maakt en alleen verantwoordelijk houdt voor het voortgaande conflict. Tutu zingt een aardig partijtje mee in dat koor en is daar blijkbaar een beetje doof van geworden. Waar over gezwegen wordt, en dat is echt een schande, is Darfoer. Daar zijn honderdduizenden onschuldige burgers omgekomen en miljoenen gevlucht. Daar is werkelijk sprake van etnische zuiveringen, vrouwen worden massaal verkracht, mannen en kinderen vermoord en dorpen met de grond gelijk gemaakt, maar het mag geen genocide heten. En nee, Darfoeriaanse zelfmoordcommando's blazen zich niet op in Kartoem, en niemand betwist het recht van Soedan om te bestaan. Waarom wordt Soedan niet harder aangepakt door de internationale gemeenschap? Waarom komt het in de Mensenrechtenraad nooit van een ondubbelzinnige veroordeling? Er is nooit een holocaust op de Soedanezen uitgevoerd, en toch dat regime vrijuit.
    Tutu, toegegeven, roept ook op tot sancties tegen de Soedanese regering, maar zijn Apartheidspraat reserveert hij voor Israël. Ten onrechte, betoogde eerder dit jaar ook de Soedanese mensenrechtenactivist Simon Deng, die in Israël een veilig heenkomen vond, en daar juist niet de 'Apartheid' aantrof waarvoor hij zijn thuisland was ontvlucht.
    Tutu later told a news conference: "I think the West, quite rightly, is feeling contrite, penitent, for its awful connivance with the Holocaust."
    Israel wordt ondanks (of ook vanwege?) de holocaust onophoudelijk bekritiseerd. Het is het enige land waarvan het bestaansrecht geregeld wordt ontkend, en in de VN algemene vergadering en mensenrechtenraad worden geregeld dubieuze vergelijkingen gemaakt tussen Israel, een westerse democratie, en nazi-Duitsland. Maar dat is voor Tutu natuurlijk geen probleem.
    Velen zeggen dat de Joden van slachtoffers in daders zijn veranderd, dat ze net zo wreed blijken als hun voormalige beulen. Ook eisen we van Israel extra moreel gedrag 'want de Joden zouden toch moeten weten wat het is om zo onderdrukt en vernederd te worden'.
    In zijn eigen Zuid-Afrika werden niet lang geleden nog vluchtelingen uit Zimbabwe, die de tirannie en het wanbeleid van Mugabe ontvlucht waren, door de lokale zwarte bevolking verjaagd en vermoord. Tutu zou er beter aan doen zijn energie op zijn eigen land te richten, want in het al te complexe Midden-Oosten conflict gedraagt hij zich als een olifant in een porseleinwinkel met zijn al te gemakzuchtige en beledigende oneliners.
    Eén moeilijk conflict in de wereld oplossen is ook wel genoeg in een mensenleven, toch?
    Ratna & Wouter
    Tutu: World doesn't criticize Israel because of the Holocaust
    By Reuters
    South African Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Thursday accused the West of complicity in Palestinian suffering by its silence, suggesting it did not want to criticize Israel because of the Holocaust.

    Tutu spoke after delivering a report to the United Nations about Israel's deadly shelling of the town of Beit Hanun in Gaza in November 2006, which he said may constitute a war crime.

    He criticized the international community for failing to speak out against the suffering in Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, under an Israeli blockade.
    "This silence begets complicity," he told the UN Human Rights Council.

    Tutu later told a news conference: "I think the West, quite rightly, is feeling contrite, penitent, for its awful connivance with the Holocaust."

    "The penance is being paid by the Palestinians. I just hope again that ordinary citizens in the West will wake up and say 'we refuse to be part of this'," he said.

    The Geneva-based Human Rights Council on Thursday debated the report on his fact-finding mission conducted last May, which called for an independent investigation into the Israeli strike that killed 19 Palestinians, all but one from the same family.
    The Israeli military, after carrying out its own investigation, said in February that it had directed artillery fire against the Beit Hanun area on Nov. 8 2006, on the basis of intelligence that militants were planning rocket attacks.

    Israeli ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar told the Council on Thursday: "A thorough internal investigation was conducted and the results of this investigation shared with the United Nations. Nothing can be gained by rehashing this topic now."

    But Tutu, who won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle against apartheid in his homeland, said his mission never had access to the internal Israeli report.

    It was regrettable that Israel had not cooperated with his team, although it admitted responsibility for the strike.

    "No verifiable explanation has been offered, no independent impartial and transparent investigation has been held, no one has been held to account," Tutu said.

    In talks with senior Hamas officials, Tutu said he demanded an end to the firing of rockets into Israel, saying Hamas has an obligation to respect international humanitarian law.

    "Families living in Sderot have the right to live without the fear of rockets, however crude, dropping from the sky," he said.

    Israel and the West tightened restrictions last year on the Gaza Strip in an attempt to isolate Hamas after its fighters seized the territory. The Islamist group opposed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' peace talks with Israel.

    Palestinian ambassador Mohammad Abu-Koash said Tutu's report should be brought to the attention of both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

    "The Israeli shelling of civilians in Beit Hanun while asleep in their homes and targeting of those fleeing is a war crime and its perpetrators must be brought before international justice," he said in a speech.

    Na Kadima verkiezing: Mofaz neemt time-out terwijl Livni coalitie gaat vormen

    Hieronder de stappen naar een nieuwe regering na de interne verkiezingen voor het partijleidersschap van Kadima.
    Inmiddels is bekend dat Tzipi Livni deze verkiezing heeft gewonnen, met een marge van slechts zo'n 400 stemmen. Mofaz gaat de uitslag toch niet aanvechten, maar gaat zich bezinnen op zijn politieke toekomst (zie tweede artikel onderaan).
    Sommigen dachten dat Olmert nu gelijk met het ontslag van zijn kabinet ook daadwerkelijk zou opstappen, en Livni als vice-premier zijn post zou waarnemen totdat ze een nieuwe coalitie heeft gevormd, maar dat pluche plakt verschrikkelijk en Olmert wil nog als demissionair premier aanblijven totdat de nieuwe coalitie er is.
    Last update - 23:23 17/09/2008
    Kadima leadership race: What happens next
    By The Associated Press
    Israel's ruling Kadima Party held a primary election Wednesday to pick a successor to the party leader, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

    But the winner will not automatically succeed Olmert. Here is a brief look at the process:

  • Kadima holds primary election. If the winner gets 40 percent or more of the vote, he or she is the new party leader. If not, party holds run-off between two top vote-getters the following week. Exit polls put Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on 47-49 percent and her main rival, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, on 37 percent.
  • Once party has a leader, Olmert formally submits resignation to President Shimon Peres. The cabinet resigns with him.
  • After consulting with party leaders, Peres picks a member of the Knesset, most likely the Kadima leader, to form a new coalition government.
  • The prime minister designate has 42 days to form a new coalition and bring it to the Knesset for approval.
  • If no new government is formed, a general election is held within 90 days. The process of forming government begins all over again.
  • Olmert remains in office as caretaker prime minister until a new government is approved by the Knesset.

  • Related articles:
    Day after losing Kadima race, Mofaz announces 'time out from politics'

    By Haaretz Service
    Last update - 22:35 18/09/2008

    Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz on Thursday announced he was planning to take a "time out" from politics in order to decide his future path.

    At a press conference one day after he lost the Kadima Party leadership race to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Mofaz said he did not intend to seek a position in the new government, should Livni succeed in forming a coalition.

    "I will remain a Kadima member and will do everything I can to help [Livni]," Mofaz said.

    Livni's camp on Thursday expressed surprise at Mofaz's announcement.

    Commenting on Wednesday's primary election results, in which Mofaz came in second by a margin of some 400 votes, Mofaz said, "I am a democrat in my soul, and I know how to accept and respect every outcome. I accept the voters' verdict and I wish Ms. Livni luck."

    Mofaz added that the difference was negligible between the number of the votes he and Livni received and that several lawyers advised him to appeal the results.

    But, he said, "I decided that the good of the country comes before my personal gain, especially during this time in which the government is being tossed around in stormy waters."

    Mofaz thanked his supporters, along with the cabinet ministers and Kadima MKs. "I have no complaints against anyone - not against those who didn't vote for me," said Mofaz. "I have nothing against the ministers and MKs who supported other candidates, not against the system or the general atmosphere, the media, the pollsters - everyone followed his own agenda."

    Later Thursday, Mofaz cancelled a meeting with Livni scheduled for Friday in which the newly elected Kadima chair was to ask him to assist her in assembling a coalition and to rethink his decision to retire from politics.

    However, in light of Mofaz's announcement, it appears that he is determined to follow through with his decision and will not be joining the government.

    donderdag 18 september 2008

    Kadima leider Tzipi Livni zal haar taak 'met grote eerbied' vervullen

    Hoewel Mofaz Livni feliciteerde en dus zijn nederlaag toegaf, lijkt hij ook de uitslag aan te willen vechten en te eisen dat enkele kiesdistricten worden gediskwalificeerd of opnieuw geteld. Dit doet sterk denken aan de Amerikaanse verkiezingen van vier jaar geleden, toen de uitslag onzeker bleef omdat de stemmen in enkele staten herteld moesten worden.
    Ondertussen rust op Livni de zware taak binnen 42 dagen een stabiele en werkbare coalitie samen te stellen.
    Victorious Livni: I will approach this job with 'great reverence'
    By Haaretz Staff and News Agencies
    The new chairman of Kadima, Tzipi Livni, gave her long-awaited victory speech early Thursday morning following a dramatic night which saw her projected lead shrink to a mere percentage point in her primary face-off with Shaul Mofaz.

    "All the people who came to vote today expressed what they wish to happen in this country," Livni told reporters. "The national responsibility [bestowed] by the public brings me to approach this job with great reverence."

    In reference to her primary opponents - Ministers Avi Dichter, Shaul Mofaz, and Meir Sheetrit - the foreign minister said "they were rivals of the moment, but together we have one mission. Together we will create government stability."
    "The responsibility is not solely mine, but also on members of Kadima," Livni, who spoke with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert earlier Wednesday evening, said. The new Kadima chairman said she intended to "meet with the members of the Knesset factions in order to form a coalition."

    Livni thanked the voters, adding: "I am going forward with your strength that will be with me from here on out."

    Despite the landslide victory attributed to Livni in the exit polls by Israel's three major TV stations, Livni beat Mofaz in Wednesday's Kadima primary by a margin of 431 votes, a difference of 1.1 percent. Livni garnered 43.1 percent to Mofaz's 42 percent. Voter turnout in the primary stood at 55 percent.

    Livni said she would launch coalition talks on Friday, even though President Shimon Peres cannot officially ask her to try to put together a government until Olmert resigns the premiership.

    After she is assigned the task, she will have 42 days to form a new ruling coalition, and if she succeeds, she will become Israel's first female prime minister since Golda Meir stepped down in 1974. If she fails, the country will hold elections in early 2009, a year and a half ahead of schedule.

    Mofaz telephoned Livni on Thursday morning, congratulating her on her primary victory, Israel Radio reported.

    An attorney for Mofaz is recommending that the candidate appeal the results of Wednesday's party primary, arguing that voting irregularities primarily in the Arab sector could very well make up the difference separating Mofaz and Livni.

    The lawyer, Yehuda Weinstein, acknowledged Livni edged out Mofaz by 431 votes, yet he pointed out that the voting station in the Negev town of Rahat offered a pool of 430 votes. "It is impossible to attain power in Israel by a margin of one vote," Weinstein said.

    The Rahat votes were nullified after one of the town's residents caused a commotion at the voting station, flinging envelopes in every direction while people were placing slips into the ballot boxes. Because of the tightness of the race, the Mofaz camp is likely to request that the Rahat votes be counted.

    "Everyone is armed with complaints in such a tight race, and every complaint will be addressed," said Dan Arbel, the chairman of the election committee. "There are accusations of wrongdoing in the Ashkelon voting station, in Beit Jean, and we will investigate these claims. To this point, we have not found a reason to disqualify any voting station except for Rahat." Arbel noted that all of the results were reported to the elections committee.

    Arbel rejected Mofaz's claim that the television exit polls which were released before the final votes were tallied influenced the voters. The party extended the voting an extra 30 minutes past the original 10:00 P.M. closing time. "The alternative would be that [people] would not be able to vote," Arbel said.

    Citing evidence it says is proof of illegal activity, the Mofaz campaign is considering a request to disqualify certain voting stations in Arab towns. Earlier, the Mofaz campaign said it would urge a partial vote recount, citing election fraud which is allegedly backed by evidence. Once the final tally results showed a near photo finish, campaign officials huddled with lawyers at Mofaz headquarters for emergency consultations.

    "The results are amazingly close to each other," Mofaz associates said.

    Mofaz aides also claim that the television exit polls that declared a double-digit victory for Livni some 15 minutes before the polls' closing had a bearing on voters as well as potential voters, thus tilting the final results in Livni's favor.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday evening phoned Livni and congratulated her on her victory in the party primary after TV exit polls indicated she had won by a landslide.

    Olmert wished Livni good luck and told her she would receive his full cooperation in passing on the role of leadership in the event she is capable of establishing a coalition. The two planned to meet later this week.

    Having secured more than 40 percent of the vote, Livni will replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as Kadima chairman, negating the need for a second round of voting.

    Livni's main rival for the leadership of the ruling party, Shaul Mofaz, the hardline transportation minister and former army chief, was predicted to have won 37 percent of the vote.

    The exit polls awarded the two other candidates, Meir Sheetrit and Avi Dichter, 7 percent each.

    MK Ronit Tirosh, who has announced her support for Mofaz, asked the chairman of Kadima's election panel, former judge Dan Arbel, to refrain from pronouncing Livni as victor before the indications of fraud have been disproved.

    Arbel told Israel Radio that "when the race is so tight, each side has all sorts of claims. We will look into them closely, but so far we haven't found any of them to be based in truth."

    Livni will replace Olmert, who is stepping down in light of multiple corruption allegations.

    Late Wednesday she thanked her supporters in a phone call to her headquarters.

    "You fought like did an amazing thing, and I just want to do all the things you fought for," she said. "I know you did it as friends, but like me you did it because you want this to be a better place."

    The biggest issue at stake was the future of Israel's peace talks with the Palestinians, with Livni seen as far more amenable to a final deal than Mofaz. Livni, 50, is currently Israel's lead negotiator in those talks.

    Mofaz was seen as having a better chance at cobbling together a ruling coalition if he had won Wednesday's primary. But pre-vote polls showed Livni to be a far stronger candidate in a general election against Israel's other political star, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the rightist Likud Party.

    Kadima extended the voting hours by 30 minutes Wednesday night, apparently to give voters returning from work more time to cast their ballots at crowded polling stations. Analysts predicted a high turnout would favor Livni, who has a wide advantage in opinion polls but who is seen not to have rallied party activists as efficiently as Mofaz.

    The fact that only 74,000 party members, in a country of 7 million people, were eligible to vote added to the uncertainty of the outcome. Israeli media reported that an hour before the new closing time of 10:30 P.M. some 45 percent of the eligible Kadima voters had cast their ballots. However, voting often picks up in the evening after working hours in Israeli elections.

    Hamas: Both Livni and Mofaz deny Palestinians' rights
    Meanwhile on Thursday, Ismail Haniya, the de-facto prime minister of Hamas in Gaza, expressed indifference at the predicted election victory for Tzipi Livni as the new leader of Israel's ruling party, saying both she and her rivals deny "legitimate Palestinian rights."

    "All Israeli leaders unite in their hostile positions against our people and in denying their rights, notably Jerusalem and the refugees," Haniya told reporters in Gaza.

    "Regardless of who will win in Israel, we won't change our position," he said, adding "the Zionist dream to establish the great Israel has been defeated by the Islamic project, which gained in strength dramatically in the region."

    Related articles:
  • Kadima leadership race: What happens next
  • Shas: If Livni wants a coalition, she must fulfill our demands
  • Kadima primary: Key facts about Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni