zaterdag 4 oktober 2008

Israëli's verdeeld over komend Amerikaans radar station in Negev

Als dit radarstation er alleen maar komt om Israel tegen Iran te helpen beschermen, waarom krijgt het dan geen directe toegang tot alle gegevens? En waarom worden Israelische technici niet getraind om het radar te bemensen? Is dit radar een sympathieke geste van een bondgenoot of een ideale manier voor de VS om een aantal landen te bespioneren?
Israelis Wary of a US Radar Base in the Negev
By Tim McGirk and Aaron J. Kein/Jerusalem TIME Magazine
When a contingent of U.S. soldiers opens a radar facility on a mountaintop in the Negev desert next month, Israel will for the first time in its 60-year history have a permanent foreign military base on its soil. And despite the early warning that the American radar would provide if Iran launches a missile attack on Israel, some senior Israeli officials are nonetheless wary about its presence. Complained one top official, "It's a like a pair of golden handcuffs on Israel."

From its mountain perch in Har Keren, the U.S. radar will be able to monitor the take-off of any aircraft or missile up to 1,500 miles away - giving Israel a vital extra 60-70 seconds to react if Iran fired a missile, Israeli military sources told TIME. Israel has its own radar system trained on Iran, but it's range is much shorter. Still, some see several drawbacks for Israel in the radar, and blame Defense Minister Ehud Barak for requesting its deployment in Israel without consulting anyone other than his chief of staff. Some in the upper echelons of the Israeli Defense Force fear that although the radar will enhance Israel's protection against Iran, it may also open up Israel's own military secrets to the Americans.

The radar will allow the U.S. to keep a close watch on anything moving in Israeli skies, "even a bee", says one top Israeli official who asked not to be identified. The U.S. may be a close ally, but Israel nonetheless has aviation secrets it would rather not share. "Even a husband and wife have a few things they'd like to keep from each other," explains this source. "Now we're standing without our clothes on in front of America."

Israel will have no direct access to the data collected by the radar, which looks like a giant taco. It will only be fed intelligence second hand, on a need-to-know basis, from the Americans - unless the radar picks up an immediate, direct attack on Israel, Israeli sources claim. And Israeli officials expressed concern that the radar's installation may anger Moscow, since its range will enable the U.S. to monitor aircraft in the skies over southern Russia. When the U.S. stationed anti-missile radar and interceptor systems in Poland and the Czech Republic - ostensibly directed at a future Iranian threat, although the Russians believe their own missile capability is its real target - Moscow warned those countries that the move could result in their being added to the target list of Russia's missiles.

Israeli military sources say that Barak requested the radar from U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in July, after U.S. requests to station such a system in Turkey and Jordan were rejected. Barak was eager to acquire the advantage of the early warning that the system would provide in the event of a possible Iranian attack. But with the Russians already peeved at Israel for having had military advisers inside Georgia when war broke out over South Ossetia, the radar's deployment in Israel, say officials, might make Moscow even more likely to supply Iran and Syria with its highly-accurate SA300 anti-aircraft missile batteries.

The top-secret X-band radar will be staffed by around 120 American technicians and security guards in the Negev, say Israeli military sources. But Israeli planning and air force officials are perturbed that Defense Minister Barak did not carry out any evaluation of the radar's possible impact on Israeli military operations before approving it. For one thing, Israeli defense experts are worried that waves from the X-band radar might throw off the accuracy of a new Gil anti-tank missile also being tested in the Negev. "The Bush Administration is in the mood to give us anything, as long as we don't attack Iran," gripes one senior official. "So why did we take this radar?"


Gewelddadige confrontatie tussen activisten en kolonisten bij Hebron

Het lijkt erop dat dit soort gewelddadigheden toenemen, en extremisten van beide kanten steeds aggressiever worden.


Leftist suspected of assaulting rightist's wife
Extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir claims left-wing activist shoved his wife, baby to ground during clash in Hebron. Leftists: They beat us
Efrat Weiss - YNET

Violent clash in Hebron: Police on Friday detained for questioning a left-wing activist suspected of assaulting the wife of extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir.

At around 11 am, dozens of left-wing activists and Palestinians arrived at an olive grove in the West Bank city of Hebron and clashed with settlers.
Police forces were present at the area.

Shortly afterwards, one of the leftists reportedly approached Ayala Ben Gvir, grabbed her hand and shoved her to the ground while she was holding her baby girl. The two were not hurt.

A violent confrontation erupted, with members of the Jewish settlement beating the left-wing activists. Palestinians smuggled the suspect into one of the houses, prompting the settlers to encircle the house and announce they would not be leaving the area until the man is arrested.

The police eventually decided to detain the leftist for questioning, and the settlers left the area.

Itamar Ben-Gvir said following the incident, "The assault of my wife Ayala is a new level of provocation by the leftists, who are treated with mercy by the police.

"I find it hard to describe what would have happened if my baby and wife had been hurt. If the police fail to deal with them, we will be forced to handle the rioters as we did today," he warned.

The Palestinians and left-wing activists presented a different version, saying they were attacked by a group of settlers, headed by the Ben-Gvir couple, upon arriving at the olive grove which is located on Palestinian land.

"They beat us. Ben-Gvir hit Abdel Karim Jabari in the hand, as did his wife," 28-year-old Hebron resident Issa Amer told Ynet.

Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

Syrië weigert IAEA inspecteurs op militaire lokaties

Een kleine ramp is gelukkig afgewend: Syrië heeft zijn kandidatuur voor het Internationaal Atoomagentschap ingetrokken, ten gunste van Afghanistan. Syrië weigert intussen de IAEA onderzoek te laten doen naar een mogelijk geheim atoomprogramma, al zegt het aan dit onderzoek mee te werken.

Syria declares its military sites off-limits to IAEA inspectors
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

Syria pledged Friday to cooperate with a UN probe of allegations it had a hidden nuclear program that could be harnessed to make weapons but said its military sites would remain off limits - a condition that could hamstring the investigations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency - the UN nuclear monitor - already visited Syria in June to examine a site bombed last year by Israel. The US says the site was a nearly finished plutonium-producing reactor.

But diplomats familiar with the issue say requests for further visits that would include on-site inspections of three other locations allegedly linked to the reactor were turned down by Syria after the initial trip. Then - as on Friday - Syria argued that to allow access would compromise the country's military secrets.

"We would like to underline that my government is cooperating with the agency in full transparency," Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria's nuclear program, told a 145-nation IAEA meeting. "However, this cooperation will not be in any way at the expense of disclosing our military sites or causing a threat to our national security."

Any refusal by Syria to permit visits to the suspected sites could spell the end of the IAEA's investigation. Initial results of environmental samples taken at the bombed site by IAEA experts have shown no nuclear link. But that was anticipated - US intelligence said the Syrians had not yet introduced radioactive material into the facility and the Damascus spent months cleaning up the site and encasing it in concrete before allowing the IAEA to visit.

Othman on Friday also challenged Israel to throw open its nuclear facilities to the IAEA. Arab nations repeatedly make that demand of Israel - which is widely believed to have nuclear arms but has a "no comment" policy on the issue.

The meeting - the IAEA's general conference - is expected to formally touch on the issue before it ends Saturday, likely by voting on two resolutions critical of Israel for refusing to join the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its program to IAEA inspection.

Another volatile topic - Syria's bid for a seat on the decision-making board of the IAEA - was defused Friday, when Syria decided to withdraw and cede the position to Afghanistan, the US-backed candidate from the Middle East South Asian region.

Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the meeting, said the decision was made to avoid a divisive vote at the meeting, which normally reaches decisions by consensus. But with any vote to be decided by secret ballot, some participants at the meeting suggested they Syrians feared they might lose.

vrijdag 3 oktober 2008

Ayatollah Khamenei: 'Iran steunt Palestijnen en Hamas, Israël zal ondergaan'

Ondertussen nemen de binnenlandse problemen toe, en moet Iran steeds meer brandstof (!) importeren om in de groeiende behoefte te kunnen voorzien. In plaats van wat aan de werkloosheid, armoede en drugsproblematiek te doen, haalt men maar weer eens naar Israel uit. De Palestijnen worden daar uiteraard niet beter van, en op een heilige oorlog van de islam tegen Israel zitten weinigen te wachten, maar iets anders heeft Ayatollah Khamenei zijn volk niet te bieden.

Supreme Leader Pledges Support for Palestinians
Fars News Agency 1 October 2008

TEHRAN (FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei pledged Iranian support for the Palestinians and the Hamas government.

During his Eid ul-Fitr sermons Wednesday, the Leader called out to Hamas' prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, saying Iran will not abandon the Palestinians.

He said that Iran will stand beside the Hamas government in Gaza and that Israel is weakening and on the path to eventual destruction.

Ayatollah Khamenei called Haniyeh, a "mujahed", or holy warrior, saying "the Iranian nation will never let you be alone."

He said Israel "has weakened day by day ... Today, officials of the Zionist regime acknowledge that they are moving towards weakness, destruction and defeat."

"Definitely, the world of Islam will see that day and hope the existing generation of the Palestinian people will watch the day Palestine is at the disposal of the Palestinian people, in the hands of the landlords," the Supreme Leader said.

He also said Muslims worldwide are united against Israel.

"The resistance of the brave Palestinian people is one of the most important factors behind the world's support for them. Palestinians have proved that they deserve to be called a vital Muslim nation," the Leader added.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the Islamic world has been awakened and is on alert about Palestine.

"Today, the Islamic world is becoming more sensitive and motivated about the Palestinian issue in comparison with 60 years ago when the enormous catastrophe occurred," he said.

The Leader added that the Islamic world faces an all-out political and cultural invasion, saying, "This does not mean that enemies have become stronger. Rather it means that they sense their weakness and are resorting to different strategies."

The Leader called on all the Muslims across the world to maintain their unity and to not allow enemies to cause strife between the Shiites and Sunnites.

Elsewhere, the Leader praised Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his firm stand on the nation's nuclear rights.

He also pointed to the great achievements of the Iranian nation and said, "Iranians are taking major steps toward progress. Their achievements belong to all Muslims."

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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donderdag 2 oktober 2008

Grenzen van Amerikaanse dialoog met Iran

Moet de VS met Iran gaan praten, en onder welke voorwaarden? Barack Obama en John McCain denken daar verschillend over. De historicus Michael Oren geeft een analyse van de voor- en nadelen en vooral de voorwaarden die de VS zou moeten stellen.

Talk Isn't Cheap With Iran
The Wall Street Journal
The issue of American dialogue with Iran featured prominently in Friday's presidential debate. Barack Obama pledged "to engage in tough, direct diplomacy with Iran." John McCain denounced that notion as "naive" and "dangerous."

This exchange capped a week in which five former secretaries of state, including Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell, called for talks between the United States and Iran, and when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured the United Nations General Assembly that "the American empire is reaching the end of the road."

Amid all of these declarations, though, few questions were raised about the possible benefits of U.S.-Iranian talks as well as the potential pitfalls. What, for example, would be the talks' objectives -- to moderate Iranian behavior and renew Iranian-American relations or, more broadly, to recognize a new strategic order in the Middle East? What concessions might the Iranians seek from the U.S., and which ones would America be prepared to yield? And finally, how would the discussions affect America's allies in the region, its forces in Iraq, and its strategic standing world-wide?

Any attempt to talk with Iran must take into account its previous negotiations with the international community. These began -- without preconditions -- in 2003 in talks between Iran and Britain, France and Germany. The most recent round took place in Geneva last July. It included the chief European Union negotiator Javier Solana and William Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs.

In exchange for opening their nuclear plants to inspection, the Iranians have been offered immunity from sanctions, membership in the World Trade Organization, and an energy partnership with Europe to modernize Iran's oil industry. In addition, Iran would have received a fully fueled nuclear reactor to service the country's agricultural and medical needs. It would have been welcomed into a Persian Gulf security forum and enlisted in efforts to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.

Most generously, Iran could have continued to enrich uranium for verifiably peaceful purposes. Iran's response to these far-reaching concessions was consistently and categorically "no."

In addition to nuclear issues, American interlocutors, should they undertake talks, must also address the question of Iranian expansionism. Through its Hezbollah and Hamas proxies, Iran has gained dominance over Lebanon and Gaza, and through its Baathist and Mahdist allies, has extended its influence through Syria and Iraq. An Iranian threat looms over the Persian Gulf financial centers and beyond, to the European cities within Iranian missile range. No attempt has yet been made to induce Iran to roll back or even curtail the export of its violent revolution, nor have the global powers seriously considered such a package.

Clearly, any U.S.-Iranian dialogue must exceed previous efforts and produce a unique array of concessions and incentives. The U.S. Embassy in Tehran (closed since the 1979 hostage crisis), might be reopened, sanctions could be reduced, and Iran's regional prominence acknowledged. Assurances could also be given that the U.S. will not seek regime change and that American forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf pose no threat to Iranian security.

None of these gestures, however, are likely to alter Iranian policies. It is unclear whether Iran would even agree to reopen the U.S. Embassy. A proposal in January 2008 to establish an American visa office in Tehran, though welcomed by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, was denounced by Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a CIA ploy.

Nor are the Iranians apt to respond dramatically to any easing of the sanctions that have so far failed to persuade them to moderate. Moreover, recognizing Iranian ascendancy means legitimizing Hamas and Hezbollah while weakening America's allies in Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

Radical Shiite militias would also be empowered, eroding America's recent gains in Iraq and impelling Sunni states to procure their own -- possibly nuclear -- means of defense. The U.S. could abjure any hostility toward Iran. But with its forces in the area already overstretched, such promises would invariably ring empty.

Rather than improving U.S.-Iranian relations and enhancing Middle East stability, any American offer to dialogue with Iran is liable to be interpreted as a sign of American weakness, and not only in Tehran. Public opinion throughout the area will conclude that America has at last surrendered to the reality of Iranian rule. The damage to America's regional, if not global, influence may prove irreversible.

Yet dialoguing with Iran presents the even graver danger that Iran will use it as camouflage to complete its nuclear ambitions. That goal, according to U.S. and U.N. intelligence sources, could be achieved as early as 2010, and the Iranians could pass the interim blithely negotiating with the United States. And even if Iran agreed to halt the enrichment process, it might replicate the North Korean model: negotiate with the United States, agree to suspend nuclear activities, then renew them at the first opportunity.

It is difficult to take issue with a presidential hopeful who views talks with Tehran as a "way to keep America safe," and with seasoned secretaries of state. However, the stakes in the proposed talks with Iran are too critical to remain unweighed.

The next president may in the end try to engage in discussions with Iran. To avoid disaster, his approach must be conducted within well-defined parameters, including the cessation of uranium enrichment by Iran and any end to its support for terrorism.

Negotiations must be time-limited as well, and accompanied by intensified sanctions and a credible military threat. The U.S. can communicate with Iran, but as a power and not a supplicant, and with leverage as well as words.
Mr. Oren, author of "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present" (Norton, 2008), is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Mr. Robinson, a former staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a graduate student in international relations at Georgetown University.

Kredietcrisis leidt tot opleving antisemitisme op internet

In bijna iedere discussie over Israel op internet zijn antisemitische reacties te vinden. Rampen en crises als de huidige kredietcrisis vormen een dankbare aanleiding voor antisemieten om hun haat de vrije loop te laten.

ADL sees surge of anti-Semitism following market crisis,7340,L-3604702,00.html
Internet forum, blogs rife with newfound wave of 'virulent' anti-Jewish rhetoric tied to ongoing financial calamity. 'Whenever there is trouble or uncertainty in the economy or world events, Jews become the scapegoats,' says ADL director
Yitzhak Benhorin - Ynet News
Published: 10.02.08, 22:31

WASHINGTON – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a report on Thursday warning of a sharp resurgence of anti-Semitism in the wake of the financial crisis. Internet discussion boards and blogs dealing with the meltdown on Wall Street are being flooded with hate speech, ADL says.

"We know from modern history that whenever there is a downturn in the global economy, there will be an upturn in the level of anti-Semitism and bigotry, and that is what we are seeing now," said ADL National Director Abe Foxman.

"The age-old canards about Jews and money are always just beneath the surface. As we witnessed after 9/11, whenever there is trouble or uncertainty in the economy or world events, Jews become the scapegoats, and ugly anti-Semitic canards are given new life."

In hundreds of messages echoing rhetoric found on neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites, posters to mainstream forums promote centuries-old stereotypes and conspiracy theories alleging Jewish control of the economy, banking and the government.

The ADL notes that several posts "have gone so far as to resurrect Nazi-era propaganda with threads such as 'The Jewish Problem' or comments such as, 'The Final Solution 2?."

Other examples: 'Jews have infiltrated Wall Street and Government and have ruined our country.'
'What is a GS Jew? Goldman Sachs?'
'Jews are greedy, rotten slime balls. They (Jews) love money nothing else, no faith or religion can be so heartless to their victims.'

"The good news is that providers of Internet services and moderators of message boards and even individual users are quick to react whenever anti-Semitism enters the discussion," said Foxman. "The service providers are responsive, and in most cases the offensive messages are quickly removed. But in many cases - especially with online discussions that occur in real time and are closely followed by large groups of users - the damage is already done." 

The report says that in addition to the text posts, some are also posting videos to sites like YouTube, claiming that the Jews "are exploiting the current economic crisis as part of greater conspiracy to control the country and to harm non-Jews."

Met Amerikaanse technologie de smokkeltunnels van Hamas opsporen

Als het met nieuwe Amerikaanse technieken zal lukken om de meeste tunnels te vinden en onschadelijk te maken, zou dat een grote slag zijn voor Hamas. Waarschijnlijk zal Hamas dan proberen Egyptische leden van de politie en veiligheidsdienst om te kopen, wat niet zo moeilijk is gezien de wijdverbreide corruptie in Egypte en de lage lonen van deze mensen.    

American technology stopping Hamas?
US and Egyptian soldiers pair up in recent weeks in a project to uncover Palestinian weapons' smuggling tunnels; 42 tunnels discovered in less than a month
Alex Fishman
American soldiers have teamed up with Egyptian troops in the Sinai in recent weeks for an operation designed to uncover Palestinian weapons' smuggling tunnels underneath the Philadelphi Route, along the Egypt-Gaza border.
The operation has already yielded important fruits: Thanks to new, secret American-developed technology, the US Army's Corps of Engineers uncovered 42 tunnels running between Egypt and Gaza in less than a month, an unprecedented number in such a time span.

The joint American-Egyptian initiative was agreed upon half a year ago, during Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to Egypt. American experts arrived in the region a few weeks ago, making an effort to keep a low profile by using civilian dress.
The machinery that they brought with them, which probably relies on sonar in some way to identify underground tunnels, seems to be one of a kind. To date, it appears that Israel does not possess similar technology.
The recent rash of tunnel discoveries has appears to have Hamas worried. The Palestinian organization has taken to "nationalizing" certain "private" tunnels that were previously run by Rafah families. At this point in time, Hamas controls all underground activity in Gaza.
Additionally, the tunnel exposure project has led to heightened tension between Hamas and Egypt. An explosion in a Rafah tunnel, earlier this week, led to the deaths of five Palestinians from the same family who were inside it. Three Palestinians who were able to escape into Egypt through the tunnel were subsequently arrested.
The event led to mutual mud-slinging between Egypt and Hamas. The latter blamed the Egyptians for deliberately detonating the tunnel, a claim Egypt denies.
Despite the recent successes of the joint project, Hamas has managed to smuggle hundreds of explosives, RPGs and rifles into the Gaza strip.

Amnesty International over Israël

"Pas op!! Achter je!" is de clichématige uitroep om je opponent af te leiden van wat je van plan bent te ondernemen.
Dat verwijt dat ze de aandacht willen afleiden, en dat misdaden van andere landen geen excuus zijn voor misdaden van Israel, krijgen Israel-supporters regelmatig als ze willen wijzen op de dubbele standaards, dat Israel continu fel wordt bekritiseerd op haar gedrag, terwijl elders pas echt erge zaken gebeuren, zoals in China, Zimbabwe, Kongo, Birma of Darfoer. Hieronder wordt de oorlog in Georgië vergeleken met Gaza en de Libanon Oorlog, qua aandacht en felheid van Amnesty International's reakties.
NGO Monitor is opgericht om - meestal linkse - organisaties die Israel bekritiseren, kritisch te volgen en van repliek te dienen. Ze zijn daarin zeker niet onpartijdig, maar dat neemt niet weg dat ze vaak een punt hebben wat betreft de onevenredige, soms welhaast obsessieve aandacht van zulke organisaties voor wat Israel verkeerd doet of zou doen, en de ongebruikelijke felheid waarmee die kritiek vaak gepaard gaat ("Apartheid", "etnische zuiveringen", "oorlogsmisdaden" en andere hyperbolen). Zelfs ons geliefde Amnesty International is niet vrij van smetten.

Amnesty's obsession with Israel

Amnesty persistently condemns Israel while ignoring suffering elsewhere
Yael Beck, Merav Fima
Published: 10.02.08, 17:06 / Israel Opinion,7340,L-3604542,00.html

Even in a month when war raged in Georgia, Amnesty International continued to focus on the Gaza Strip, persistently blaming Israel for ongoing Palestinian hardship.

Amnesty, in fact, issued harsher condemnations of Israel than of any party to the Georgian conflict. With a ceasefire holding between Israel and Hamas, resulting in a period of calm, Amnesty stubbornly continued to spew hollow publications repeating outdated allegations.

Moreover, Amnesty took pride in its relentless criticism of Israel, while the rest of the world rightly concerned itself with the unfolding crisis in Georgia. In a press release, the organization boasted: "With the ceasefire holding, the suffering in Gaza has fallen off the international news agenda. However, Amnesty International members continue to campaign." This "explanation" merely highlights Amnesty's obsession with Israel, regardless of the reality on the ground.

Regular readers of Amnesty's material are not fooled by their non-stop publications condemning Israel and can easily discern that they seldom reveal anything new. Many of its press releases are identical, except for minor alterations. Amnesty's ulterior motive appears to be to maintain a constant production rate of material denouncing Israel, regardless of actual developments.

For example, Amnesty's distasteful decision to continue issuing condemnations of Israel during a period of intense intra-Palestinian fighting clearly illustrates the point. Unsurprisingly, Amnesty failed to mention, let alone praise, Israel's commendable acceptance of Fatah members fleeing from Hamas.

While devoting so many of its resources to Gaza, at a time of acute suffering and human rights abuses in Georgia, Amnesty International failed to provide effective coverage of the Georgian conflict. Although one would reasonably expect Amnesty to immediately respond with urgency to such a crisis, raising awareness for its victims, Amnesty preferred to focus on its usual target: Israel.

For instance, on August 12, 2008, the organization released a statement headlined "Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza." An expanded version was re-issued on August 27, 2008. As NGO Monitor analysis has demonstrated, the report lacks evidence and credibility, largely ignores the context of terrorism, exploits international legal terminology, and presents data in a highly selective and distorted manner.

Concurrently, Amnesty released a series of vague and neutral statements calling on all sides of the conflict in the Caucuses to avoid harming civilians, without assuming a clear stance, nor providing comprehensive reporting on the events.

Lame response to Georgian conflict
Amnesty's scarce coverage of the war in Georgia is not the result of inaccessibility. Human Rights Watch managed to provide ongoing and insightful coverage, based on its delegation's observations. Such limp statements on Amnesty's part betray its commitment to the defense of every individual's human rights.

Disappointingly, Amnesty expressed less concern regarding the events in Georgia, despite the fact that a greater number of civilians were killed during that conflict than over the course of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. On that occasion, Amnesty rushed to condemn Israel in almost-daily publications. It did not hesitate to portray Israel as an aggressor and largely ignored the fact that civilians in northern Israel suffered a constant barrage of rockets launched by the Hizbullah terrorist organization.

Amnesty's lame response to the recent Georgian conflict, overshadowed by its focus on Israel, indicates that the Second Lebanon War simply served as an incentive for Amnesty to pursue its shameless Israel-bashing. Had its aversion to war been genuine, Amnesty would have responded as forcefully or even more vocally to the Georgian conflict.

Were it truly concerned with the universality of human rights, Amnesty would apply the same standards to all countries. Hence, Amnesty's aim appears clear: to persistently condemn Israel, even if it means neglecting those suffering in other, more pressing conflicts across the world.

The authors are researchers at NGO Monitor,

woensdag 1 oktober 2008

Hamas tegen verlengen ambtstermijn Abbas tot 2010

Een nieuwe confrontatie tussen Fatah en Hamas dreigt wanneer in januari - volgens Hamas - Abbas' termijn als president erop zit. Volgens Fatah is die door het Palestijnse Parlement en de minister van justitie met een jaar verlengd zodat die samenvalt met de parlementsverkiezingen in 2010. Egypte gaat bemiddelen, en zal proberen Hamas zover te krijgen Abbas' presidentschap tot 2010 te accepteren.

Hamas challenges Abbas term extension

Hamas is planning to declare one of its top officials as interim president of the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas's term in office expires in January 2009, Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip said Sunday.

The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas would not recognize Abbas as president of the PA after that date. "We will remove his pictures from all the public institutions," said one official. "Until now, our policy has been not to challenge Abbas's legitimacy as the elected leader of the Palestinian Authority."

But, the Hamas official warned, his movement was determined to see Abbas step down in January. "If he wants to seek another term in office, he should run in new elections. By announcing that he will stay in power for another year, Abbas is acting in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law."

Hamas insists that Abbas's term expires in January 2009, while the PA president points to 2010. Abbas, who was elected for four years in January 2005, argues that the Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC] amended an election law that same year so as to call for holding parliamentary and presidential elections together. The current Hamas-dominated parliament was elected in January 2006.

Earlier this year, the PA-controlled Ministry of Justice in Ramallah decided that Abbas's term would be extended until January 25, 2010, to coincide with the end of the term of the PLC.

Dismissing the announcement as a "flagrant violation of the Palestinian Basic Law," Hamas said the purported amendment of the election law was itself illegal. Hamas spokesmen explained that according to the Basic Law, the PA president's term cannot be extended because it is limited to four years.

According to a senior Hamas official, his movement is planning to name Ahmed Bahr, the acting speaker of the PLC, as interim president next January. "The Palestinian law calls for the speaker of the parliament to serve as interim president until new elections are held," he said. "When Yasser Arafat died, the former speaker of the parliament, Rouhi Fattouh, took over for two months."

Bahr, who is one of the top leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said Sunday he was prepared to serve as acting PA president in January. "Abbas would not be able to remain in office after January," he said. "If he wants, he can run in the new elections. But in the meantime, I will be filling in for him."

Bahr warned Abbas against the "serious repercussions" of his decision to stay in office beyond January. "If he insists on violating the law, he will consolidate the state of schism in the Palestinian arena," he cautioned. "He has no right to steal the post of president against the will of the people."

Bahr said he did not rule out the possibility that Abbas, with the help of Israel, would wage a major offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in January. He added that even if some Arab countries continued to deal with Abbas as president of the PA after January 2009, Hamas would not accept him.

PA officials in Ramallah scoffed at Bahr's remarks, saying he was not even the speaker of the PLC. "Bahr forgot that he's only the acting speaker of the parliament and that the speaker is Abdel Aziz Dweik [who is currently in Israeli jail]," said one official. "In any case, Bahr represents a movement that has trampled the law under its foot."

Another PA official told the Post that Abbas has formed a special panel of legal experts to find a way to allow him to extend his term beyond January 2009. "The president has no intention to step down in January," he said. "The law allows him to stay for another year."

The row over Abbas's tenure is expected to be at the top of the agenda in the upcoming talks between the various Palestinian factions in Cairo. All the Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, have agreed to hold "national dialogue" talks in the Egyptian capital early next month. The talks are primarily aimed at ending the ongoing Hamas-Fatah dispute and ending Hamas's exclusive rule in the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians are hoping to solve the crisis over Abbas's term before the end of the year so as to avoid a further deterioration in the Hamas-Fatah power struggle.

PA officials said President Hosni Mubarak supported Abbas's stance and was trying to persuade Hamas not to challenge the PA president in January. Abbas has also sought the backing of the Arab League for his plan to remain in power for an additional year.

The Egyptians are also hoping to convince Hamas to accept a proposal to deploy Arab troops in the Gaza Strip and to form a new Palestinian government that would be dominated by independent figures. Both ideas have thus far been totally rejected by Hamas, which also remains strongly opposed to Abbas's efforts to extend his term by another year.

Olmert: 'Israel moet Oost-Jeruzalem en de Golan opgeven'

Dit is niet de eerste keer dat Olmert pleit voor concessies, wel de eerste keer dat hij het ook over opgeven van Oost-Jeruzalem heeft.
Eerder al heeft hij de Palestijnen 93% van de Westoever aangeboden en een landruil om voor de rest te compenseren. Dit werd door de Palestijnen direct en resoluut van de hand gewezen, net als alle andere vredesvoorstellen die Israel tot nu toe heeft gedaan. Een ander probleem met al die vredesvoorstellen is dat Hamas in Gaza aan de macht is, en tegen vrede met en erkenning van Israel is, en hooguit bereid tot een meerjarig bestand.

Toch zijn Olmerts opmerkingen belangrijk. Het is misschien laf dat hij niet eerder over Jeruzalem wilde praten (dit had hoogst waarschijnlijk tot de val van zijn kabinet geleid), maar door deze dingen nu te zeggen maakt hij het makkelijker voor zijn opvolgster om dit taboe te doorbreken.
Een en ander staat in schril contrast met de starre positie van Abbas, die maar blijft hameren op het 'recht op terugkeer' van alle vluchtelingen en heel Oost-Jeruzalem, inclusief Joodse delen en de gehele oude stad blijft opeisen, daarin aangespoord door tientallen organisaties en politieke partijen, inclusief de eigen Fatah partij.   


Last update - 16:58 29/09/2008

Olmert: Israel must quit East Jerusalem and Golan
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in remarks published Monday that Israel would have to withdraw from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights if it was serious about making peace with the Palestinians and Syria.

In an interview with the Yedioth Aharonoth daily, Olmert said that as a hard-line politician for decades he had not been prepared to look at reality in all of its depth.

"Ariel Sharon spoke about painful costs and refused to elaborate," Olmert told the daily. "I say, we have no choice but to elaborate. In the end of the day, we will have to withdraw from the most decisive areas of the territories. In exchange for the same territories left in our hands, we will have to give compensation in the form of territories within the State of Israel."
"I think we are very close to an agreement," Olmert added.

These comments were the clearest sign to date of Olmert's willingness to meet key Palestinian demands in peace talks.

With regard to the Syria track, Olmert added that a future peace agreement required a pullout from the Golan Heights, an area under Israeli control since the 1967 Six-Day War.

"First and foremost, we must make a decision. I'd like to see if there is one serious person in the State of Israel who believes it is possible to make peace with the Syrians without eventually giving up the Golan Heights."

"It is true that an agreement with Syria comes with danger," he said. "Those who want to act with zero danger should move to Switzerland."

Yedioth Aharonoth noted that in this "legacy interview," published on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Olmert went further in making offers for peace than he ever did publicly when he was in active office and had greater power to see them carried out.

The interview was met with fierce criticism from politicians on both the right and the left.

MK Yuval Steinitz said the comments demonstrated the outgoing leader's readiness "to ignore even the most crucial" of Israel's needs.

"The prime minister's concession the essential borders of defense is a gamble on the bone of existence, and the future of the State of Israel," Steinitz told Army Radio in response to Olmert's comments.

"Ignoring the distance between rockets fired from afar and the enemy sitting on top of Jerusalem reveals how little he understands the basis of security," Steinitz added.

Former Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin criticized Olmert for having offered such concessions only on the eve of his departure from premiership.

"Olmert has committed the unforgivable sin of revealing his truce stance on Israel's national interest just when he has nothing left to lose," said Beilin.

According to Western and Palestinian officials, Olmert has proposed in peace talks with the Palestinians an Israeli withdrawal from some 93 percent of the West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, from which Israel pulled out in 2005.

The negotiations, which Olmert has vowed to continue until he leaves office when a new government is formed, have shown few signs of progress and both sides acknowledge chances are slim of meeting Washington's target of a deal by the end of the year.

Olmert has also engaged Syria in indirect negotiations with Turkish mediation, but has not remarked publicly on the scope of an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights.

Olmert has said repeatedly that Israel intends to keep major Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

A peace agreement, Olmert has said, would mean Israel would have to compensate the Palestinians for the land it hopes to retain by "close to a 1-to-1 ratio."

In exchange for the settlement enclaves, Olmert has proposed about a 5 percent land swap giving the Palestinians a desert territory adjacent to the Gaza Strip, as well as land on which to build a transit corridor between Gaza and the West Bank.

He has so far put off negotiations on sharing Jerusalem and ruled out a so-called "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, a central Palestinian demand. On both issues, there is strong opposition in Israel to significant concessions.

Olmert, who has stepped down in the face of a possible criminal indictment in a corruption investigation, will remain caretaker prime minister until a new government is approved by parliament.

A week ago, President Shimon Peres asked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, now leader of Olmert's centrist Kadima party, to try to put together a governing coalition within six weeks. Failure to do so would likely lead to a parliamentary election.

Ontevreden Fatah politici overwegen derde intifada

De samenwerking tussen Israel en Fatah is binnen de Palestijnse Autoriteit en Fatah zelf controversieel, en sommigen pleiten ervoor de onderhandelingen stop te zetten totdat Israel alle bouw in de nederzettingen bevriest. Wat niet wordt vermeld is dat door die samenwerking de bewegingsvrijgheid van de Palestijnen aanmerkelijk is vergroot, en politie- en veiligheidsdiensten in sommige steden de ruimte hebben gekregen om zelf orde op zaken te stellen. In plaats van harde voorwaarden te stellen kan de Palestijnse Autoriteit beter het in hun gestelde vertrouwen waar maken en daarna om meer controle over meer gebied vragen.
Uiteraard moet Israel er alles aan doen om geweld van kolonisten tegen Palestijnen tegen te gaan, zoals de PA ook geweld tegen Israeli's moet tegengaan. Een bevriezing van de meeste nederzettingen en stopzetting van alle nieuwe bouwplannen zou samen kunnen gaan met een einde aan de ophitsende taal in door de PA gecontroleerde media en schoolboeken.
Discontented Fatah politicos consider launching third intifada
By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents
Last update - 07:26   29/09/2008

In recent weeks, senior defense officials have been singing the praises of their Palestinian colleagues. After years of suspicion about the Palestinian Authority, Israeli officials are now convinced that the PA is resolved to deal with Hamas, which is threatening to take over the West Bank as it did the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials admit to receiving assistance from Israel and the United States and have arrested hundreds of Hamas activists and closed down dozens of its charity organizations.

But the picture is more complicated than that. While Fatah's security professionals seek conflict with Hamas, the movement's political faction wishes to reconcile with Hamas and redirect the anger at Israel.

Eight years after the second intifada's eruption, the controversy in the PA could lead to a renewed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. The recent incidents between extremist settlers and Palestinians could contribute to the conflagration.

Many Palestinians describe June 14, 2007 - the day Hamas forcibly ousted the last Fatah forces from the Gaza Strip - as the day the second intifada died. The Hamas takeover of Gaza jump-started several processes, mainly the dismantling of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, once the backbone of the violent struggle against Israel.

Meanwhile, Hamas has agreed to a temporary cease-fire with Israel and stopped the rocket fire from Gaza. But Fatah activists say that they see the lack of progress in the peace talks, coupled with continued construction in the settlements and increased settler violence, as a recipe for renewed conflagration. This is exacerbated by their growing dissatisfaction with the PA's functioning and its helplessness in the face of Israel's infringements on Palestinian interests, whereas Hamas maintains complete control of Gaza.

Last week, Kadoura Fares, a leader of the Palestinian "peace coalition," called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to halt the talks with Israel immediately. Fares, a key Fatah leader from the generation below Abbas, made this statement at a conference on the Geneva Initiative in Tel Aviv. He said it was inconceivable for Abbas to keep talking with Israel while construction in the settlements continued.

Fares' statement reflects the dissatisfaction felt by many Fatah members of his generation in the West Bank, such as Hussam Khader of the Balata refugee camp, a key figure in both intifadas. Younger Fatah members - people once active in the Al-Aqsa Brigades, who are in Palestinian custody because they have not yet received amnesty from Israel - also warn of an approaching confrontation with Israel.

Israeli intelligence officials do not believe the West Bank is ripe for a third intifada, because the Palestinian public is still weary of the suffering caused by the last round. It is doubtful that Fatah could sweep the masses into another violent struggle against Israel, they say.

But the continued friction with the settlers - and certainly a Jewish terror attack against Arabs in the West Bank - could provide the spark, just as opposition leader Ariel Sharon's visit to Temple Mount did eight years ago. That could be pretext enough for Fatah militants, who have been hiding their weapons under their mattresses, to aim them at Israelis once again.

Tot 500 smokkeltunnels van Egypte naar Gazastrook

De enige 'business' die floreert in de Gazastrook lijkt die van de smokkel door tunnels onder de grens met Egypte door te zijn. Van alles waar vraag naar is wordt via de tunnels Gaza binnen gesmokkeld. Naast wapens, sigaretten en drugs ook goederen als computers, mobiele telefoons en jeans. Onlangs is zelfs een bruid uit Egypte naar haar nieuwe echtgenoot in Gaza gesmokkeld. Voor de meeste mensen zijn deze goederen, die stukken duurder zijn dan ze normaal zouden kosten, niet te betalen. Voor deze schaarse producten betalen de tunnelgravers soms helaas met hun leven, en worden vervolgens als 'martelaren' geëerd.

Inside Gaza's secret smuggling tunnels, the underground route to riches - or to death
With several tonnes of the world's most war-torn soil between us, the shouts of the Palestinian smuggling gang at the top of the tunnel's 30-foot deep shaft had become almost inaudible.

By Colin Freeman, in Gaza
Colin Freeman takes a 'guided tour' of the smugglers tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Not that their lead tunneller had whispered particularly encouraging words as he lowered me down.

"The tunnels are very dangerous - they can easily collapse," smiled Ibrahim Abu Sazzar, 23, whose small, wiry build is just right for digging the 300 yard long passageways underneath the sandy border from the Gaza to Egypt.

"One time a day a tunnel caved in on my body and I was stuck for an hour, thinking I was about to die. But what can I do - I need the money to feed my family."
Welcome, if that is the word, to Gaza's "Tunnel Town", where with every perilous scoop of earth they dig, human moles like Mr Sazzar are quite literally undermining Israel's economic blockade.

Imposed last year after Gaza fell under the control of the militant Palestinian faction Hamas, the blockade was designed to make Hamas unpopular with Gaza's 1.4 million residents by banning virtually all trade with the outside world.

But deep beneath the watchtowers and fences of Gaza's 10-mile long border with Egypt, a sprawling warren of hand-dug burrows now supplies everything from food, petrol and designer jeans through to guns, drugs and black market Marlboro cigarettes.

Tunnel gangs charge premiums of up to 150 per cent on their cargos, raking in tens of thousands of dollars a week and making the excavation business one of Gaza's few growth industries.

"We bring through laptops, clothes, computers, medicines, mobile phones and even people," said Hisham al Loukh, 23, another tunneller. "There was even a bride from Egypt who came through one recently to get married to a man in Gaza."

The first tunnels underneath Gaza's perimeters were dug years ago, when they were they were primarily to smuggle weapons and explosives for use against Israel.
But it is during the blockade of the past year that the tunnellers' hazardous craft has really come to the fore. On some estimates there are now up to 500 passageways across to Egypt, mostly clustered around the town of Rafah, which straddles the border.

The tunnels usually surface in the gardens of villas on the Egyptian side of Rafah, where many residents are either sympathetic to the Palestinian cause or willing to lend their properties in return for a share of the lucrative profits.

Each member of a tunnelling gang, usually working in day and night shifts of 10 men each, earns around $15 per metre of passageway dug, which counts as a decent wage in an area which currently has 80 per cent unemployment. But as even the briefest of sojourns down into one of the tunnels makes clear, it is a risky living.

Entering one requires perching precariously on a makeshift wooden chairlift, which is then lowered down the 30 foot deep shaft by a winch powered by a sputtering petrol generator.

As in the Second World War film classic The Great Escape, the tunnel's walls are propped up with makeshift wooden planks, and equipped with ventilation pumps to freshen the musty, damp air at the bottom.

Diggers then use small electric drills to carve a path through the thick clay soil, steering their way by hand-held compass.

But otherwise, the engineering expertise has advanced little since the days of Tom, Dick and Harry. Tunnel collapses have led to dozens of fatalaties - so many that some local shops honour tunnellers in the same fashion as "martyred" local militants, displaying pictures of them clutching spades and drills rather than assault rifles.

The threat is not just from earthfalls. The Egyptian government, which has traditionally turned a blind eye to the tunnels because of historic sympathy for Gaza's Palestinian residents, is now under growing pressure from both Israel and the US to shut them down, and in recent months Egyptian border guards have started dynamiting any entrances that they discover.

"They also pump in water, poison gas, and even sewage," said Mr Sazzar. "But they do not stop us. If part of one tunnel gets blocked, we just dig a new branch in a different direction."

On the Gaza side, little effort is made to hide the tunnels, which lurk under a network of tents and jerry-built shacks along the border.

Israel, which withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005, has occasionally sent warplanes to bomb the passageways, but has not done so since striking a cease-fire deal with Hamas three months ago.

Hamas itself used to impose strict controls on the tunnels' numbers, but has allowed them to proliferate in recent months, mindful that too much economic privation will dent its already wavering popularity with Gaza's impoverished residents.

There are also rumours that Hamas rakes in millions of dollars by imposing an unofficial "tax" on all tunnelled goods, although Dr Ahmed Yousef, a senior advisor in Hamas's foreign ministry, denies such claims.

"The tunnels have become a necessity with everybody tightening the rope around our necks," he said. "It is a safety valve to make goods available, because we cannot get them from Israel."

Tunnel entrepreneurs are now enjoying such good business, however, that they now have a vested interest in the status quo.

In recent months a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel has raised hopes that the economic blockade might be eased, but some in Gaza fear that should that ever look like happening, local tunnel owners will sabotage it by paying militants to fire rockets into Israel again.

Meanwhile, the list of tunnel "martyrs" continues to grow. The day after The Sunday Telegraph visited, a neighbouring tunnel at Rafah collapsed, killing three people and injuring five others.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

maandag 29 september 2008

Veiligheidsraad bijeen over Israëlisch-Palestijnse vredesproces

Veiligheidsraad bijeen over illegaal Hamasbestuur over Gaza
De Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties heeft gisteren een speciale zitting gewijd aan het Israelisch-Palestijnse vredesproces en met name de situatie in Gaza, waar Hamas sinds juni 2007 de scepter zwaait. Hamas is een racistische en gewelddadige beweging die gekant is tegen iedere vorm van vrede met Israel.
De Veiligheidsraad kwam bijeen op verzoek van verschillende landen, waaronder Nederland, dat optradt namens de Europese Unie. "Hamas dreigt het vredesproces te torpederen", aldus minister Verhagen. "Hamas zal niet toestaan dat Israel en de Palestijnse Autoriteit een vredesverdrag tekenen, waarin de laatste het bestaansrecht van Israel zal erkennen". Volgens Verhagen versterkt de macht en positie van Hamas extremistische ideeen in Israel. "Mensen geloven niet meer dat vrede en verzoening met de Arabieren mogelijk is".
Premier Livni benadrukte dat veel Israeli's de VN en internationale gemeenschap wantrouwen omdat die wel altijd de nederzettingen en Israelisch geweld hard veroordelen, maar de illegale coup van Hamas, de ophitsing tegen Israel en de walgelijke Jodenhaat zoals die via door Hamas gecontroleerde media wordt verspreid negeert. Ze zei erg blij te zijn met deze speciale zitting en sprak de verwachting uit dat zowel gematigden aan Israelische als Palestijnse zijde erdoor gesterkt zouden worden.

V-raad bijeen over nederzettingen Israël

De Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties heeft gisteren een zitting gewijd aan het Israëlisch-Palestijnse vredesproces. De raad kwam bijeen op verzoek van Saoedi-Arabië, dat optrad namens de Arabische Liga.

Vrede redden
De Liga en de Palestijnse president Mahmoed Abbas vroegen de raad het vredesproces te redden door Israël op de vingers te tikken voor het blijveen bouwen van nederzettingen op Palestijns gebied.

Het probleem van de nederzettingen dreigt het hele vredesproces te torpederen, zei de Saoedische prins Saud al Faisal. Alleen door het probleem aan te pakken kan het vredesoverleg dat in november op een top in de VS op gang werd gebracht, worden gered, zei hij.

Extremer zonder vrede
Volgens prins Saud heeft de stagnatie van het vredesproces de aantrekkingskracht van extremistische ideologieën versterkt. "Gevoelens van wanhoop en frustratie hebben een gevaarlijk hoog niveau bereikt", zei hij.

"De toenemende perceptie in de Arabische en islamitische wereld dat de internationale gemeenschap deze zaak niet serieus neemt moet aan de orde komen." Abbas zei dat er een 'definitief eind' moet worden gemaakt aan de 'nederzettingendiplomatie'.

Dit jaar nog?
De regering-Bush zei in november op de conferentie in Annapolis dat haar streven en dat van Israël en de Palestijnen erop was gericht voor eind 2008 een vredesakkoord te sluiten dat voorziet in de vorming van een levensvatbare Palestijnse staat.

Amr Mousssa, die sprak namens de Arabische Liga, concludeerde dat er nog drie maanden van 2008 over zijn en dat er geen teken is van een ontluikende Palestijnse staat.

Geduld is op
Het debat kon worden opgevat als een signaal dat het geduld op is met het rustige overleg achter de schermen waar de Verenigde Staten de voorkeur aan geven. De VS heeft maandenlang weten tegen te houden dat Palestijnse kwesties in de Veiligheidsraad aan de orde werden gesteld.

Voorafgaand aan het debat zei de Russische ambassadeur Vitali Tsjoerkiin dat de VS en sommige andere landen bezwaar hadden gemaakt tegen het open debat, maar dat Washington uiteindelijk had ingezien dat het onvermijdelijk was.

"Er is vooruitgang"
De Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Condoleezza Rice wees de raad erop dat er een jaar geleden helemaal geen sprake was van een vredesproces en zei dat Israël en de Palestijnen hun onderhandelingen voorzetten, samen met vele andere partners.

Rice zei ook dat niet de Veiligheidsraad, maar het Kwartet voor het Midden-Oosten -de VS, Rusland, de VN en de Europese Unie- het aangewezen forum is om over het vredesproces te discussiëren. De vier landen hielden vrijdag ook een bijeenkomst in New York.

Iran aanvallen
Rice wist later de aandacht handig van het haperende vredesproces af te leiden door de aanval te openen op de Iraanse president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Deze haalde dinsdag in een toespraak tot de Algemene Vergadering van de VN op zijn gebruikelijke manier uit naar Israël.

Rice zei dat Ahmadinejads eerdere oproepen om Israël van de kaart te vegen onacceptabel zijn. Als de raad gaat kijken wat nu werkelijk de internationale vrede en veiligheid bedreigt staat dit volgens mij bovenaan de lijst", zei zij.   (novum/edp)

Boek met Holocaust cartoons uitgebracht in Iran

Zelden is er zoveel haat van een land tegen een ander land en volk verspreid, waarmee men nooit een territoriaal dispuut had, nooit door bezet is geweest en nooit mee in oorlog is geweest. De laatste keer dat een regime een volk zo zwart maakte, beledigde en bedreigde was, juist ja, zo'n 70 jaar geleden.....
Boek met holocaustcartoons uitgebracht in Iran - zaterdag 27 september 2008
In Iran is een boek uitgebracht met cartoons en satirische teksten over de jodenvervolging. Het staatspersbureau IRNA maakte dat vandaag bekend.

Het boek werd uitgegeven op Quds Day (Jeruzalemdag), een dag waarop in Iran massaal geprotesteerd wordt tegen de aanwezigheid van Israël in Jeruzalem. Net als andere jaren ging een groot aantal Iraniërs die dag de straat op en eisten ze het vertrek van Israël uit het Midden-Oosten. Volgens hen is Israël "een kankergezwel" dat verwijderd moet worden.

Eén van de cartoons in het boek toont joden die de gaskamer verschillende keren in en uit lopen. Een andere jood zit bij de ingang met een teller die op 5.999.999 staat.

Het boek stelt onder meer dat Israël de holocaust misbruikt in het conflict met de Palestijnen. Samensteller van het genoemde boek is de politiek activist Mohammad Ali Ramin. Verschillende Iraanse studenten verleenden hun medewerking. Bij de presentatie van het boek was de Iraanse minister van onderwijs, Alireza Ali-Ahmadi, aanwezig.

Nasrallah op Al-Aqsa Dag: 'Palestina voor de Palestijnen'

Dit is wat Nasrallah met 'verzet tegen de Israelische bezetting' bedoelt:
"Jerusalem and Palestine, from the sea to the river, belong to the Palestinian people, the Arabs and the Muslims, and no one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone from the holy land," Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Friday evening.
Nasrallah added that Israel was the enemy of all Islamic states. "Israel is not only the enemy of the Palestinian people, but also of Lebanon, all the Arab people and all the Muslim nations. Israel is a cancerous tumor, as Imam Khomeini said.
"Today, as in the past, we stress that the only way to return the land and overcome the difficulties is through the way of resistance – by the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the rest of the region's nations. It's still possible, but today more can be done that ever before."
Toch koos een flink deel van links in Nederland partij voor Hezbollah tijdens de oorlog in 2006. GroenLinks, de SP en Oxfam-Novib organiseerden een anti-Israel demonstratie waar Hezbollah aanhangers ongehinderd hun leuzen scandeerden, leden van EAJG liepen mee en hadden daar, evenals Femke Halsema, geen enkele moeite mee. Columnisten en commentatoren spraken van Hezbollah's 'recht op verzet' tegen Israel, al was Israel al 6 jaar weg uit Libanon.
Nasrallah: Palestine belongs to Palestinians from sea to river

Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds Day, Hizbullah secretary-general says, 'No one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone of the holy land'; adds his organization will continue resistance against Israel. 'Today more can be done than ever before,' he notes
Roee Nahmias - Ynet News
Published:  09.26.08, 21:50
No place for Israel in the Middle East? "Jerusalem and Palestine, from the sea to the river, belong to the Palestinian people, the Arabs and the Muslims, and no one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone from the holy land," Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Friday evening.
Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an Iranian-declared observance, Nasrallah added, "Its stones, olives and figs are sacred, and no one has the right to give it up. This land must belong to its owners, and it will return, God willing.
"This day comes to stress a number of primary significations to the Muslims, so that the nation feels the intensity of the humiliation of past decades, when its holy places were occupied by racist Zionist hands.
"This is the greatest humiliation of this nation. The second message is to stress the historic, religious and legitimate responsibility of the Muslim nation towards Jerusalem, Palestine and the Palestinian people."
He warned Israel not to attack Lebanon. "I have always said that the way of the resistance is not a classic war. We are ready to help the resistance of the Palestinian people. But those who attack Lebanon – we shall face them.
"(Defense Minister) Ehud Barak spoke in the past about five divisions which would invade Lebanon, and today he talks about eight. Okay, he may have made new calculations. But you should know that your eight divisions will be destroyed on our territory by our fighters. If Israel makes this mistake… The enemy and the friend know these things are promises from the Arab victory periods and are not taken from the times of past defeats."
The Hizbullah leader went on to attack the United States and Britain. "We do not deny the influence of the Zionist lobby in the world, but Israel does not control the US. It is an entity created by the British. Israel is the product of the US and Britain aimed at tearing the region apart. It is the arrowhead of this inspiration.
"We understand this. Our holy lands will not be liberated through talks with the West. The way to return the lands and liberate the Palestinian people is through desire, resistance and self-sacrifice in the region – the same resistance which succeeded in imposing itself on this entity."
'Weapons from black market to Lebanese army'
Nasrallah also blamed elements in the Arab world for not acting against Israel. "Unfortunately, there were those among the Arabs who took advantage of the conflict within the Palestinian people to wash their hands off the Palestinian issue. If the Arab nation does what is needed, the liberation of Jerusalem will be possible, maybe even soon."
The Hizbullah leader went on to speak about the military armament in Lebanon. "Following the reports in Lebanon that Israel objects to the US equipping the Lebanese army with a number of arm systems, can we maintain the sovereignty of Lebanon and its people this way? Must we really wait for permission from the US and Israel to equip our national army and give it all it needs to carry out its secret missions? This is unthinkable.
"As for the resistance, they were angered by it because it did not need anyone's permission to arm itself, and thus this weapon is one of the reasons for power."
He turned to Lebanon's new unity government: "We need the unity government to make a brave decision that we do not need anyone's permission and we will equip our army. We will establish a special cabinet of ministers, and in this framework the state will purchase weapons, even in the black market, as the resistance does.
"If we wait for the United State's permission, we might receive trucks, weak armored personnel carriers, etc, but we will never get weapons which will allow us to face the Zionist enemy. A national force is not built through an external entity, but through national determination."

'Israel the enemy of Islam'
Nasrallah added that Israel was the enemy of all Islamic states. "Israel is not only the enemy of the Palestinian people, but also of Lebanon, all the Arab people and all the Muslim nations. Israel is a cancerous tumor, as Imam Khomeini said.
"Today, as in the past, we stress that the only way to return the land and overcome the difficulties is through the way of resistance – by the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the rest of the region's nations. It's still possible, but today more can be done that ever before."

The Hizbullah leader said the Muslims must achieve their dream, even if it interrupts Israel's vision.
"Today the time of the Zionists' dreams has passed and the time of our dreams has begun. Today we don't just dream, we implement our dreams. After the year 2000 and following the historic victory in southern Lebanon, the al-Aqsa Intifada broke out. It was a historic golden opportunity to realize these hopes. Unfortunately, the entire Islamic nation did not stand by the Palestinians, who were forced to sacrifice victims."
As for dreams, Nasrallah went on to say that "while some people were busy with the internal crisis in Lebanon, there were people in the resistance who did not sleep at night since the end of the war – led by the shahid Imad Mugniyah, and they are still working to realize the dream."
Addressing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation, Nasrallah said, "Olmert, although he naturally should have stepped down following the Winograd Commission, remained in his seat thanks to vigorous American involvement.
"The post-war Israel is facing a leadership crisis. One of the most important developments was that Olmert admitted that the Greater Israel dream has come to an end, after (opposition leader Benjamin) Netanyahu admitted in the past that Zionism is facing a crisis.
"Out of all these things, the public's lack of faith in this entity and its future is the most important. Polls released in Israel recently say two-thirds of the public believe they are living in an area where they feel insecure."
Nasrallah spoke during the al-Aqsa Day events, a tradition launched in Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini which calls for "Jerusalem's liberation and is marked on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan.
The Beirut event was attended by representatives of the Lebanese president and army commander, the parliament speaker, diplomats and other supporters. It was held in the Sayyed Al-Shuhada Mosque, Hizbullah's main mosque in the Dahiya quarter.

Palestijnse vluchtelingen tegen compromis 'recht op terugkeer'

Stel je voor: Tientallen Palestijnse organisaties en individuen schrijven Abbas een brief waarin zij hem aanmoedigen door te gaan met de vredesonderhandelingen met Israel, en oproepen daarvoor de noodzakelijke concessies te doen, zoals de erkenning van het recht op zelfbeschikking van beide volken, erkenning van Joodse nationale rechten in Jeruzalem, de noodzaak tot een regeling voor de vluchtelingen te komen die niet indruist tegen het Joodse zelfbeschikkingsrecht en op te treden tegen de ophitsende taal in kranten, moskeeën en schoolboeken.
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Palestinian Refugee Organizations Write Letter to President Mahmoud Abbas

The Alternative Information Center (AIC)
September 25, 2008

Written by Palestinian Refugee Organizations
Thursday, 25 September 2008

The following letter was presented to President Mahmoud Abbas's office on behalf of 78 Palestinian organizations on Wednesday September 22, 2008. Note that ALL Palestinian political factions have signed on as well.

Open Letter to President Mahmoud Abbas

To: President Mahmoud Abbas

Chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee
President of the Palestinian National Authority

League of Arab States
Non-Aligned Movement
Organization of the Islamic Conference

Re: The Rights of Palestinian Refugees and the Final Status Negotiations

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings of Return

We, the undersigned Palestinian refugee organizations, civil society movements and institutions in the Palestinian homeland and in exile are national organizations working to defend the right of return. We appeal to you now because we are convinced that the alignment of the official Palestinian position and the position of the Palestinian people with regards to the final status negotiation issues is of the highest priority. Foremost among these issues is the cause of the Palestinian refugees.

We are convinced that the alignment of popular and official positions is the main guarantee of a strong Palestinian position in the current negotiation process, which is taking place in a local, regional and global context that jeopardizes the national rights of the Palestinian people. In this context, we are concerned in particular about the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their original lands and properties, restitution of their homes, lands and properties and compensation for damages incurred over the past 60 years. Based on the fact that all of these rights are guaranteed under international law, and based on our awareness of the enormous pressures faced by Palestinian negotiators and the tactics of negotiations, such as secrecy with regards to the negotiation proceedings, we call upon you to adopt a negotiation strategy that is based on openness with the entirety of the Palestinian people - irrespective of their current place of residence - regarding all aspects and details of the negotiation process. Implementation of the Palestinian refugees' right of return was and continues to be the main purpose for which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established, a purpose which forms the central pillar of the PLO's legitimacy as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Transparency and candidness of our representatives with all sectors of our society will guarantee that our rights are best defended, and strengthen our position in the face of enormous pressures.

It has been clear at all stages of the negotiations that this process aims to eliminate the core issue of the Arab/Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice: the Palestinian refugees and their rights of return and restitution. In fact, elimination of these central Palestinian/Arab demands form the center-piece of both Israeli and US policies. It is also no secret that during the so-called "Oslo Peace Process" these policies have employed insidious tactics in order to nullify these rights altogether. Such tactics include attempts to substitute the return and restitution of the refugees with monetary compensation; to reduce the number of those entitled to exercise these rights from over 7 million Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to a tiny minority, including so-called "hardship cases" that would be arbitrarily defined by Israel; to suggest that the refugees return to homes located in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority; and other humiliating "trade offs" whereby Palestinians are expected to surrender the right of refugees to return to homes, lands and properties of origin in exchange for other rights and demands, such as self-determination, borders, the reclamation of Jerusalem and removal of the illegal settlement-colonies. The Palestinian leadership has rejected such degrading bargaining tactics in previous negotiations, notably those known as the second Camp David summit and the Clinton initiative. The late President Yasser Arafat rejected these tactics, and he was made to pay for that with his liberty and his life.

Whereas the rights of return, restitution and compensation are enshrined in international law and specifically affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237;

Whereas we see that increasing US pressure aims to force Palestinian negotiators to agree to an obscure framework for a solution that is to be achieved by any means and at the soonest date, and that such a framework is largely for internal US consumption in the context of a US Presidential election;

Whereas it has become clear that the US administration is working on other fronts to market its obscure framework for a solution in the September 2008 session of the UN General Assembly;

Whereas we realize, as a result of our movement's long and difficult experience with Israeli politics, that Israeli political actors seek to solve the internal Israeli political crisis by venting destruction on the Palestinian front through various policies and practices, all of which work to entrench Israeli occupation, colonialism, and apartheid, and aim to attain international recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish State;'

Whereas Western and Israeli election platforms must not be employed to put pressure on the Palestinian negotiators, who should in no way be a party to the political maneuvers of US and Israeli political candidates, particularly in order to protect the legality, legitimacy, and sanctity of Palestinian national rights regardless of who emerges victorious in foreign elections;

Whereas we perceive the retreat of the once principled European position, and the transformation of this position into one that conforms to the US policy of total complicity and support for Israel;

Whereas we clearly see the weakness and inability of the Arab countries to take action or play any effective role;

Whereas we witness the sharp, painful and unprecedented deterioration in the internal Palestinian political arena;

Whereas it has become plain and obvious that powerful external pressures aim to annul Palestinian refugee rights, particularly the right to return to their original lands and properties and the restitution of these lands and properties;

Whereas Israel and the US, according to Israeli officials, are intensifying their efforts to reach a framework for a solution that is acceptable to both Israel and the US and will be viable regardless of the ruling party;

Whereas the primary measure of the legitimacy of any solution remains the extent to which it will lead to the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Palestinian people, including foremost the right of Palestinian refugees to choose to return to their original homes and lands regardless of their current place of refuge,

We approach you with this statement based on our strong desire to chart a way forward that is built on the highest levels of clarity and candidness with the Palestinian people; a way forward that aims to strengthen the Palestinian position in this sensitive stage of the Palestinian struggle; a way forward that ensures that any framework for a solution will include the following principles in clear and immutable language:

1. The rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return, restitution and compensation are fundamental rights under international law and relevant UN resolutions - particularly UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237. The content of these rights is non-negotiable irrespective of the manner in which they will be exercised;

2. The right of return is an individual right held by every Palestinian refugee and internally displaced person. This right is passed on from one generation to the next, based on the individual's choice on whether or not to return, an inalienable and indivisible right, and not affected by any bilateral, multilateral, or international treaty or agreement. Any such agreement must respect the fundamental precepts and principles of international law;

3. The right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return is a collective right that is not limited to one group or another, and it is an integral part of the Palestinian right of self-determination;

4. The right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return is not subject to referendum.

May you remain steadfast in our struggle for freedom and dignity

Drafted: August 2008


1. 194 Association (Syria)
2. Abassiya Association (Palestine)
3. Abnaa Al-Balad Center for the Defense of the Right of Return (Syria)
4. Aidun Group (Lebanon)
5. Aidun Group (Syria)
6. Al-Awda Palestine Network (Holland)
7. Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition (North America)
8. Arab Cultural Forum (Gaza, Palestine)
9. Arab Liberation Front
10. Arab Palestinian Front
11. Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (Palestine)
12. Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Palestine)
13. Beit Nabala Association (Palestine)
14. Bisan Association (Syria)
15. Coalition of Right of Return Defense Committees (Jordan)
16. Coalition of Right of Return Defense Committees (Jordan)
17. Committee for the Rights of Palestinian Women (Syria)
18. Confederation of Right of Return Committees (Europe: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Greece, Germany, France, Holland, Poland, Finland)
19. Coordinating Committee of Palestinian Organizations Working in Lebanon (Lebanon)
20. Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (Palestine)
21. Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
22. Democratic Palestine Committee
23. Depopulated Towns and Villages Associations (Gaza, Palestine)
24. Farah Heritage Society (Syria)
25. Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Palestine)
26. Higher Follow-up Committee on Prisoners (Palestine)
27. Higher National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return (Palestine)
28. Inevitable Return Assembly (Syria)
29. Islamic Jihad Movement
30. Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas]
31. Istiqlal Youth Union (Lebanon)
32. Istiqlal Youth Union (Syria)
33. Ittijah: Union of Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations (Palestine)
34. Jafra Youth Center (Syria)
35. Jimzo Association (Palestine)
36. Lajee Center, Aida Camp (Palestine)
37. National Assembly of of Palestinian Civil Society Organizations (Palestine)
38. National Committee to Commemorate the Martyr Ahmad Al-Shuqairy (Jordan)
39. National Nakba Commemoration Committee (Palestine)
40. Palestine Democratic Union [Fida]
41. Palestine House Educational and Cultural Center (Canada)
42. Palestine Liberation Movement [Fatah]
43. Palestine Remembered (USA)
44. Palestine Right of Return Coalition (Global)
45. Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (Palestine)
46. Palestinian Civil Society Coordinating Committee in Palestine and Abroad (Global)
47. Palestinian Liberation Front
48. Palestinian National Democratic Movement (Palestine)
49. Palestinian National Initiative
50. Palestinian People's Party
51. Palestinian Popular Struggle Front
52. Palestinian Refugee Rights Defense Committee (Balata Camp, Palestine)
53. Palestinian University Professors Union (Gaza, Palestine)
54. Palestinian Women's Grassroots Organization (Syria)
55. Palestinian Youth Democratic Union (Syria)
56. Palestinian Youth Organization (Syria)
57. Palestinian Youth Struggle Union (Syria Branch)
58. People's Assembly of the Towns and Villages Depopulated in 1948 (Palestine)
59. Platform of Associations in Solidarity with Palestine (Switzerland)
60. Popular Committees to Defend the Right of Return (Gaza, Palestine)
61. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
62. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command
63. Refugee and Right of Return Committee (Syria)
64. Refugee Camp Popular Committees (West Bank & Gaza, Palestine)
65. Refugee Executive Office (Palestine)
66. Right of Return committee (Switzerland)
67. Ruwwad Cultural Center (Aida Camp, Palestine)
68. Salameh Association (Palestine)
69. Secular Democratic State Group (Gaza, Palestine)
70. Union of Right of Return Committees (Syria)
71. Union of Women's Activity Centers, West Bank Refugee Camps (Palestine)
72. Union of Youth Activity Centers, Refugee Camps (Palestine)
73. Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War [Sa'iqa]
74. Women's Activity Centers (Gaza, Palestine)
75. Yaffa Charitable Fund (Jordan)
76. Yaffa Cultural Center (Balata Camp, Palestine)
77. Youth Assembly (Gaza, Palestine)
78. Youth Struggle Union (Lebanon)

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