vrijdag 17 oktober 2008

Twee 20-kg bommen gevonden op Westoever

Het voorkomen van aanslagen en ander Palestijns geweld is - helaas - dagelijkse routine voor de IDF soldaten op de Westoever en de Israelische veiligheidsdiensten.

The Jerusalem Post
Oct 15, 2008 21:48 | Updated Oct 16, 2008 18:46
Two 20-kg bombs found in West Bank
Four members of an Islamic Jihad terror cell were arrested Thursday in a joint IDF-Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation in Kabatiya, south of Jenin.

During the operation, troops found two 20 kilogram bombs. Sappers safely detonated the explosives.

Earlier Thursday, IDF troops shot dead an armed Palestinian as he was preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers in the West Bank village of Kufr Malik.

The IDF said he was one of three men an army patrol spotted carrying firebombs under cover of darkness and he was shot when he ignored warning fire. The other two escaped.

Palestinian medics identified the dead man as Aziz Yousef, 20, and said his body was handed over by Israeli officials before dawn.

During the night, another Palestinian fire-bomber died in a Ramallah hospital after being shot Wednesday during what the IDF said was a mob attack on an army position in nearby Jelazoun refugee camp. Hospital staff named him as Mohammed Ramahi, 21.

The IDF said Ramahi was shot with a blazing firebomb in his hand as he prepared to lob it at troops.

Violence had erupted in the camp after the funeral of a teenage resident shot dead Tuesday as he too was preparing to carry out a firebomb attack, near a Jewish settlement, the army said.

Citing a recent wave of Molotov cocktail attacks in the area between Jerusalem and Ramallah, the army has been stepping up efforts to stop them, including laying nighttime ambushes near potential targets.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

Joods-Arabische samenwerking in Akko

Een praktisch gerichte groep laat zien dat samenleven in Akko wel mogelijk is. Niet door als Joden de kant van de Arabieren te kiezen zoals sommige linkse vredesactivisten, maar door naar praktische oplossingen te zoeken, zuivere intenties te hebben en de Arabieren open en met respect tegemoet te treden. Zij kennen niet het wondermiddel tegen de problemen, en verwachten niet die even op te kunnen lossen, maar werken concreet aan verbeteringen in de stad en in de relaties onderling. Deze groep zelf, waarin ook Arabieren participeren, is ook niet vrij van etnische spanningen, en daar goed mee omgaan ziet men als voorwaarde en onderdeel voor het slagen van het project.   

The Jerusalem Post
Oct 16, 2008 0:24 | Updated Oct 16, 2008 14:38
In the eye of the storm
When a handful of masked young Arab men threw gasoline-drenched pieces of burning cloth into an apartment used by the Ayalim organization in Acre's Old City last week, it was an Arab neighbor who chased them angrily away and put out the fire.

"We're not here to make Acre Jewish," says 27-year-old Guy Maoz, logistical coordinator for the Ayalim student village in the heart of Acre's Old City, an almost entirely Arab neighborhood. "We're simply here to develop the city to the level of a modern tourist town where people will want to live," he says.

Ayalim is a nationwide organization that has placed over 500 students in 11 "villages" in the country's North and South. There they spend a year working on social projects to develop the areas and help stem the flow of young, educated residents to Israel's center.

These are not peacenik idealists - "not that there's anything wrong with those types," insists Michal Heskelovich, manager of Ayalim's Acre branch - but busy students, the majority majoring in engineering and medicine, who want to be part of the very practical, dirty work of changing the country for the better.

Most of Ayalim's student villages are tiny settlements in the Negev or Galilee where the students live in temporary caravans and work on social projects in nearby villages and towns.

But another type of village developed after the Second Lebanon War, when an Ayalim group setting up near Kiryat Shmona was not permitted to live in temporary structures because they were deemed too dangerous in light of the rocket barrages that covered northern Israeli towns during the war.

So the group sought another housing solution and found apartments in one of the worst neighborhoods in the poor northern town. That was Ayalim's first "urban village." Acre is its second.

Whatever the world may think of ethnic relations in Acre, those living in the center of the storm are optimistic.

The Arab neighbors are "extremely curious about us," says Maoz. "In their culture they don't live inside the house, but outside, chatting in the streets," so the Jewish students and Arab residents meet several times each day, exchanging pleasantries and, more often than not, humor.

Walking through the narrow alleyways of Acre on Wednesday, 27-year-old Heskelovich, a cheerful blonde with a degree in education who seems exotic against the cobblestones of the old Mediterranean port, is greeted by an old Arab man who detains her for long minutes to discover why she was gone from the neighborhood for nearly two weeks during the holidays.

Barely extricated from his interrogation, she is forced to repeat the process with another half-dozen residents before reaching the organization's front door.

"The ones who live near us know what we're about and appreciate us," explains Maoz.

But not everyone accepted the group at first.

Ayalim's work of developing the periphery is similar to, and sometimes corresponds with efforts to "Judaize" Galilee regions by encouraging Jews to move to areas with large Arab populations.

The apartments and financial support in Acre are contributed by the Jewish Agency.

When Arab community leaders in Acre protested the entry of young Jews into their neighborhood, the tensions between the two groups forced the municipality to step in and arrange a meeting between the heads of Ayalim and the Islamic Movement in Acre.

At the meeting, the student group managed to convince the local Muslim leadership that the development of Acre was their primary goal, and its greatest beneficiaries would be the poor Arab community in the town.

"There's a lot of crime and drugs in this neighborhood," says Heskelovich, but a little marketing could go a long way to changing that. "If you can 'brand' the Old City as a socio-economically strong, young and fun place, a place next to the sea where young people do interesting things, then you can change the place in real terms. You'll get an influx of cafes, artists, an educated population."

To achieve that goal, Ayalim is tackling the Arab-Jewish divide head-on.

For Heskelovich and Maoz, this doesn't come from a specific commitment to coexistence, but simply because you cannot escape the problem if you want to do economic development work in mixed cities.

The first step in coexistence is to deal with the tensions within the group itself. Last year's group had both Arab and Jewish student participants, and the unresolved tensions between them "hurt the cooperation within the group," Heskelovich says. "It was hard to talk about Zionism or any other nationalism."

Three Arab students will be part of the 24-member group that begins the new academic year in Acre's Old City early next month. This year, "we're going to focus on creating a cooperative life together," insists Heskelovich.

Meanwhile, the group arriving in November will face a stiff challenge. Before deciding how they will spend thousands of hours of community work - each participant must give up to 500 hours over the year - the students will go door-to-door, introducing themselves to their neighbors and finding out from the residents what the community needs from them.

Some of the projects being offered: a beautician among the students hopes to offer cosmetics classes to local women, and Heskelovich hopes to establish a Salvation Army-style second-hand clothing store in the Old City.

The ethnic tensions that flared this month in the town will likely remain, Maoz and Heskelovich believe.

But "we don't need perfect harmony to do our work," insists Maoz, "as long as everyone knows where the boundaries are."

donderdag 16 oktober 2008

PLO website over herbouw Ohel Yitzhak synagoge in de Jeruzalem

De Klaagmuur de 'westelijke muur van de Al Aqsa Moskee' noemen is bijna hilarisch: het is de westelijke muur van de Tempelberg, waarop milennia voor de geboorte van Mohammed al de Joodse tempel stond. De Klaagmuur is daar overigens maar een klein onderdeel van, onder de grond loop hij nog honderden meters door onder het moslim kwartier.
Dit is tekenend voor hoe de PLO continu iedere Joodse verbondenheid met Jeruzalem ontkent en de mythe creeert dat dit een puur Arabische stad is. Deze ontkenning van de band met de voor de Joden belangrijkste stad, zowel nationaal, cultureel, historisch als religieus, is ronduit schandalig maar wordt zelden aan de kaak gesteld.
De precieze lokatie van de herbouwde synagoge is -merkwaardigerwijs- via internet nauwelijks te achterhalen. Ook Israelische kranten schrijven dat hij in het moslimkwartier ligt. De Ohel Yitzhak synagoge werd in 1917 gebouwd in een wijk waar destijds zo'n 5.000 Joden woonden. Tijdens de Arabische opstand in 1936-1938 moesten de Joden wegvluchten en in 1948 werd hij door de Jordaniërs vernietigd.

A New Synagogue Built within Al-Aqsa Mosque
www. palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=2047

Israeli occupation authorities opened on Sunday a new large synagogue only 50 meters away from Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site on property owned by the Islamic Waqf.

A network of tunnels connect the new synagogue to the Al-Buraq Wall (the Wailing Wall to Jews), which is the western wall of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Sheikh Ra'ed Salah - president of the Islamic Movement in Palestine 1948 - said at a press conference that the Jewish organization "Utarit Kohanim" stole the prayer site of the "Tankeziya" school - one of Al-Aqsa buildings - and turned it to that synagogue.

Jesse Jackson en Barack Obama over de VS en Israel

Obama heeft inmiddels afstand van deze beweringen genomen, en Jesse Jackson meent dat Taheri zijn woorden heeft verdraaid. Beide hebben bovendien in een reactie verklaard achter Israel en haar veiligheid te staan. Jacksons leermeester Martin Luther King was overigens een sterke supporter van Israel.
Obama will rid United States of 'Zionist' control
Last update - 12:26 15/10/2008       
Jesse Jackson: Obama will rid United States of 'Zionist' control
By Haaretz service
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the Rev. Jesse Jackson said the United States will rid itself of years of "Zionist" control under an administration headed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The daily quoted the veteran civil rights leader on Tuesday as having said that although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they will lose a much of their clout when Obama enters the White House.
Speaking at the first World Policy Forum event in Evian, France, Jackson promised "fundamental changes" in U.S. foreign policy. He said the most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.
Jackson said that Obama "wants an aggressive and dynamic diplomacy." He went on to criticize the Bush administration's handling of Middle East diplomacy, telling the Post, "Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss. Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."
Jackson has not always been such a strong Obama supporter. In July, he apologized to the Illinois senator for "crude and hurtful" remarks he had made about him after an interview with a Fox News correspondent.
Speaking to a fellow interviewee without realizing his microphone was on, Jackson said, "See, Barack's been talking down to black people.... I want to cut his nuts off."
"It was very private," Jackson said, adding that if "any hurt or harm has been caused to [Obama's] campaign, I apologize."

Bezoek aan Fatah activisten in gevangenis Nablus

Israël heeft wel eens geklaagd dat de Palestijnse gevangenissen soms erg open inrichtingen zijn. Maar een groep voormalige Fatah activisten, betrokken bij diverse aanslagen tegen Israel, hebben van Israel een gedeeltelijke amnesty gekregen en mogen daarom overdag naar huis. Ze hebben onlangs een verklaring getekend dat ze van geweld en anti-Israel activiteiten zullen afzien en over drie maanden zijn ze vrij.
De geinterviewden geven aan alleen nog naar een normaal leven te verlangen.
De samenwerking tussen Israel en de PA lijkt op dit gebied nu redelijk te functioneren, evenals de samenwerking met als de PA veiligheidsdiensten in Nablus en nu ook in Hebron.


Last update - 02:41 15/10/2008

Haaretz reporter visits Fatah activists in Nablus jail

By Avi Issacharoff

JUNAID PRISON, NABLUS - "For five years, I was a wanted man, but we had enough," says Sufian Qandil of the Tigers, an organization associated with Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. It's noon, and Qandil woke up only a few minutes ago in the prison cell where according to an agreement with Israel he must now spend his nights. "We keep our agreements, even those signed with the Jews," he says, placing his hand on his pillow with a Mickey Mouse pillowcase.

The Al-Aqsa brigades were dissolved. Some members joined the security forces of the Palestinian Authority after receiving amnesty from Israel, while others are being held in PA prisons. A rare look inside Junaid Prison reveals a new era in relations between Israel and Fatah activists. They were involved in dozens of terror attacks, but now they say the era of war is over. They want normal lives. There is another expression of the winds of change blowing through Israel-PA relations: The PA arrests men wanted by Israel on request.

Take Mahdi Abu Ghazale, 35, once considered the commander of the Night Riders, a rival to the Tigers. Like Qandil, Abu Ghazale received partial amnesty from Israel, with the same conditions. About a year ago, he met with a group from Haaretz in a safe house in the casbah of Nablus. He described his daily routine, and mentioned that he was still single. A few days ago he became engaged to a local woman. His fiancee's family made full amnesty from Israel a precondition for the marriage. Abu Ghazale, who fought against Israel for years, now finds himself having to prove his renunciation of terror in order to get married. "I'm being tested not only vis-a-vis Israel but also vis-a-vis my future wife," he explains.

The guard at the gate is unaccustomed to visitors to the prison, especially Israeli ones, and lets us in only after consulting with a superior. The prison was once used by Israeli security forces, and Ghassan, our escort, recalls being detained here by the Shin Bet security service. In addition to the Fatah detainees, divided into full-time wards and those who return to sleep here each night, are 54 Hamas members awaiting trial. The conditions they are held in are much worse. Abu Nidal, a PA military intelligence official who is in charge of the cellblocks, says that just a few days ago the partial-amnesty recipients signed their agreement with Israel renouncing arms and all anti-Israel activities. For three months they will be prohibited from leaving Nablus and from contact with other wanted men. "Their current status is 'not on the wanted list,'" Abu Nidal says.

The partially amnestied spend their nights mainly watching television. Abu Ghazale says they've already handed in their weapons and are no longer involved in terrorism. "There are no games, the situation has changed. We're no longer waiting only for amnesty, but rather for a comprehensive Israeli withdrawal. This group has met all the conditions placed on it. At night [we] are in prison and during the day all we do is see our families."

Night rider Omar Aqub has one leg in a cast, due to a motorcycle accident and not from his days of fighting the Israel Defense Forces. "The military activities are over, enough of that. We want a normal life, not trouble," Aqub says. He also expresses a desire to join one of the PA's security forces. "Either that or I'll go back to being an automotive mechanic," he says.

Qandil, the ex-Tiger, was nearly killed by the IDF last year. On October 10, 2007 an IDF force operating in the Nablus casbah fired at him and fellow Tiger Omar al-Inbusi. Inbusi was killed, Qandil was badly wounded in the leg and abdomen but nevertheless managed to escape. He has been incarcerated at Junaid for nearly 10 months, as a result of Israeli pressure on the PA. He escaped twice, but returned of his own free will.

The great escape

One of the escapes was in January, and it lasted a few hours. "I said I was going to the canteen and simply kept walking," Qandil says. "About three hours later I returned because the Israelis started operating in the city and I was afraid they'd hurt me."

Three months later, the whole group escaped, after a tussle with the guards. "We broke the exit door, which wasn't particularly reinforced," Abu Ghazale related. "You have to understand, our conditions were very tough then. We couldn't leave our cells even to go into the corridor and there was no progress in our talks with Israel regarding our situation. So we took advantage of the fact that the guards were putting down another confrontation in the next wing and approached the gate. Punches were thrown, the guards there fired into the air. We returned after receiving assurances that our conditions would be improved," Abu Ghazale said.

The Tigers and Night Riders sit in a cell and smile as they reminisce about the joint escape. In the past the two groups fought for control of the casbah, but now they're all good friends. "Once there were battles between our groups," Qandil recalls. During the first intifada, if the member of one group entered the other group's territory, even by mistake, his fate would be like that of an IDF soldier.

Abu Nidal says that various measures have since been taken to prevent future escapes. The door the prisoners broke is now bricked in, an additional fence was installed and the number of perimeter patrols has been doubled.

In Cellblock Four, the last of the Al-Aqsa brigades' men wanted by Israel, 13 in all, are being held in full-time detention. Ghanan Subuh, who has been imprisoned since April, says he received amnesty from Israel in November 2007 but four months later IDF soldiers went to his house to arrest him. He found refuge at Junaid. "During the day we can go into the prison yard, but at 8 P.M. the wing is locked up for the night. Family visits are permitted once a week," Subuh explains.

Mohammed Mansour, Mohammed Milhim and Saeb Mahmoud, all in their early twenties, have been cellmates for nine months. "It's a prison for all intents and purposes," one says. "Relations with the guards are good but at the end of the day it's still prison. There's television, bathrooms, even two cell phones in every cellblock." Qa'id al-Misri, 15, the youngest of the 13, makes coffee. He was also arrested on Israel's request. He has been here for 40 days, apparently on suspicion of aiding wanted activists.

Most of the men say Palestinian prison is preferable to Israeli prison. "Maybe the conditions in Israeli prisons are better, but here I'm with people from my own city," Subuh says. "The relations with the guards and the wardens is better." The 13 wanted men expect to receive partial, if not full, amnesty from Israel.

Abulafia ambitions

A few isolated members of the Al-Aqsa brigades continue their anti-Israel activities. Qandil, whose name was once known to every Shin Bet coordinator and every officer in the IDF special forces, says he is already dreaming of the moment he'll receive amnesty from the Shin Bet. "As soon as I can, I want to travel to Israel. I'll visit Jaffa. I have a lot of cousins on my mother's side who live there. They live really close to the Abulafia Bakery," Qandil says, referring to the legendary Arab bakery on Yefet Street that every Israeli from the center of the country, and most from beyond, knows for its fresh specialty pitas.

woensdag 15 oktober 2008

Eerste kabinet Livni in de maak

Volgens eerdere berichten zag Barak een coalitie zonder Shas niet zitten omdat deze een te smalle basis in de Knesset zou hebben, maar was hij vanwege de internationale financiële crisis wel bereid zijn economische eisen voor regeringsdeelname te temperen. De Likoed weigerde een uitnodiging van Livni om bij de coalitie te komen, omdat volgens Netanyahoe het volk nieuwe verkiezingen wil. Livni dreigde Shas er juist mee dat het volk het Shas zou verwijten als zij niet aan de coalitie zouden meedoen en er daardoor nieuwe verkiezingen nodig zouden zijn. Shas houdt vast aan de eis die ze ook in de huidige coalitie had, dat er niet over een deling van Jeruzalem mag worden onderhandeld met de Palestijnen. Of en hoe ze daarvan af te brengen zijn, of hoe Livini anders een vredesakkoord met Abbas zou kunnen bereiken, is zeer de vraag. Israël zou mijns inziens goed een Paars kabinet kunnen gebruiken, in meer van 1 opzicht.

New coalition agreements to cost about NIS 2 billion

Last update - 03:05 15/10/2008
By Zvi Zrahiya and Moti Bassok

In agreeing to the coalition demands of both the Labor Party and Shas for increased child and old-age allowances, among others, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has committed to NIS 2 billion in increased spending. Part of this spending will have to come from budget cuts in such areas as infrastructure and industrial development.

Economic affairs officials are expecting the cuts to come from budget items that encourage economic growth, and consider Livni's promises to Defense Minister Ehud Barak to be a mistake at a time when the world is experiencing a major financial crisis; these promises are intended to improve the Labor Party chairman's standing with voters and the elderly in particular.
In the past few days, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On received figures on the costs of the coalition agreements, and complained strongly to Livni.

He said the treasury would have a difficult time finding sources for increased spending; nevertheless, the officials said the agreements do not seem to have crossed Bar-On's red lines. Labor has retreated from its demands to increase the 2009 budget by 2.5%, up from the planned 1.7% increase.

The NIS 2 billion figure for child allowances and other demands will be spread out over 2009-2011. The agreements will most likely require changes in the proposed budget for next year, which is scheduled to be presented to the Knesset at the end of this month.

The cabinet approved the proposed 2009 budget in August, and it is missing at least NIS 200 million of the promises to Labor. In addition, it seems that another NIS 400 million in additional revenues anticipated for 2009 will also be canceled as part of the coalition agreement with Labor.

The cost of the agreement between Kadima and Labor, which was signed Monday night, is estimated at NIS 1.5 billion.

The 2010 budget will include an additional NIS 400 million in allowances, with another NIS 400 million in 2011. The plan is for old-age allowances to rise from 16% of the average wage today to 18% in 2011. Another NIS 50 million will be allocated to subsidize day care for needy families, and university tuition will not be raised.

The coalition agreement also includes cancelation of various items in the 2009 Economic Arrangements Law intended to increase tax revenues. Homemakers will not be forced to pay the national health tax, a NIS 300 million cut in planned revenues, and another NIS 100 million in cuts for nursing home care will not be made.

In addition, the parties agreed to examine reducing the management fees retirees pay for their pension funds.

If an agreement is signed in the end with Shas, then another NIS 1.5 billion is expected to go to child allowances. The treasury is presently examining various ways of implementing the increased allowances.

In addition, the various parties that join a new coalition are expected to demand additional ministerial posts, including possibly United Torah Judaism and Justice for the Old (the Pensioners' breakaway party), as well as additional ministers for Labor and Shas. Each new minister costs about NIS 2 million a year.

Iran heeft twee voorwaarden voor gesprekken met VS

Bij alle discussies over of de VS met Iran moet gaan praten, of de VS en de NAVO met de Taliban moeten praten en of het Westen met Hamas moet gaan praten wordt vaak vergeten dat deze landen en organisaties vaak niet, of alleen onder onacceptabele voorwaarden, met de VS of het Westen willen praten. De verwachting wekken wel te willen praten, en daar geen voorwaarden aan te willen verbinden, wordt door de 'vijand' al gauw als een teken van zwakte uitgelegd.

Report: Iran has two conditions for talks with U.S.

www.chinaview.cn  2008-10-11 22:40:46

    TEHRAN, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Iran's president media consultant Mehdi Kalhor said here Saturday that Iran has two conditions for talks with the United States, the official IRNA news agency reported. 
    "If the United States does not move out of the middle east and the U.S. government does not give up its support for the Zionist regime, we do not think the talks between Iran and the United States would be advisable," Kalhor said.
    "Today, it is the United States that needs to have relations with Iran," Kalhor told IRNA, adding that "We believe that our religion accepts repentance."
    He also pointed out that the relations with the United States and the nuclear issue, which are beyond the president's responsibility, require the Iranian Supreme Leader's and Iranian people's opinion. 
    While U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to confirm or deny these two conditions but said that Washington was eager to allow more Iranians to visit the States.
    Earlier at a news briefing Tuesday, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey also reiterated that despite its differences with the Iranian government, the United States was looking for ways to reach out to Iran's citizens.
    The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1979 when the Islamic revolution took place in Iran. 
    Several media reported in June that the United States was considering setting an interest institution in Tehran to process Iranian visa applications and to serve as an American cultural center after almost 30 years of severed ties between the two countries.
    Currently, the Swiss embassy in Tehran houses a U.S. special interest section to communicate messages from Washington to Iran and to handle the affairs of U.S. citizens inside the Islamic Republic.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in July in New York that Tehran will consider the plan if the United States presents the proposal officially.
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said in July that he was ready to talk with U.S. President George W. Bush directly.

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dinsdag 14 oktober 2008

Financiële crisis schuld van Joden (uiteraard...)

Sinds minstens het jaar 1348 krijgen 'de Joden' de schuld van vrijwel elke crisis en ramp die anderen of henzelf overkomt. Van Stormfront, Hamas en de KKK is niet anders te verwachten, maar zorgwekkend is hoe dit antisemitisme de laatste jaren ook in linkse kringen steeds meer doorsijpelt.
Dankzij het internet kan elke idioot tegenwoordig de grootste onzin uitkramen op forums en comment secties van gerespecteerde kranten en organisaties. Ook een idealistische website als 'One World' heeft gewoon antisemitische reakties op haar fora staan. Een klacht mijnerzijds leverde geen enkele respons op...
Conspiracy theory faults Jews for Lehman Brothers' collapse
By Anshel Pfeffer
A new anti-Semitic conspiracy theory has been spreading online over the last few days, claiming that on the eve of Lehman Brothers' collapse last month, the firm transferred $400 billion to Israel.

The theory, which comes in the form of a news report, has already been distributed on dozens of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sites. It alleges that senior Jewish officials at the Lehman Brothers investment bank passed their clients' money on to three Israeli banks, with the intention of then escaping to Israel to enjoy the take without fear of extradition.

Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which was founded in the United States by Jewish immigrants from Germany in 1850, Web forums and comment pages have been flooded with anti-Semitic comments accusing Jews of causing the global economic crisis and branding them the greatest beneficiaries of the disaster. Such statements are especially common on clearly racist sites, but can also be found on more popular mainstream sites.
The Anti-Defamation League in the U.S. and other international bodies monitoring anti-Semitism have documented hundreds of such cases in the past two weeks.

A number of Islamic organizations, including Hamas in Gaza - which called the economic crisis America's punishment for its bad deeds - have joined the chorus and accused the Jewish lobby of causing the crisis.

But the allegation of the transfer of $400 billion of Lehman Brothers' cash to Israel is much more focused. The story making the rounds was written as if it were a news report from Washington, and has a byline of the "Voice of the White House." The story names three Israeli banks that allegedly received the money, explains in detail Israel's extradition laws and bank-secrecy act, and charges American law-enforcement authorities of having knowledge of the transfer. It also cites excerpts from a real story that appeared on the Bloomberg economic news service wire about estimated losses of $400 billion in the brokerage division of the investment bank.

The "story" first appeared a week ago on the Web site of Jeff Rense, a former journalist who has published numerous conspiracy theories involving Jews, Israel and the American administration.

Since then, it has been picked up and posted on dozens of sites and anti-Semitic blogs. Surfers who read it tried to copy it to more respectable forums and comment pages such as The Huffington Post in the U.S. and The Independent in Britain.

The conspiracy theory is reminiscent of past allegations about Jews, ranging from the czarist-era "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" to the widely circulated libel that the Israeli Mossad knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and warned all of the complex's Jewish employees not to come to work that morning.

Related articles:
  • Bank of Israel chief holds emergency talks over global financial crisis
  • Hard landing / What happened? All the answers
  • The crisis is on its way here
  • NGO's manipuleren rechtssystemen tegen Israël

    Ik kan me wel het dilemma voorstellen: Europa wil vrije meningsuiting en mensenrechten in de Palestijnse gebieden bevorderen, dus subsidiëren ze Palestijnse media en mensenrechtengroepen. Die zullen zeker ook wel goed werk doen, maar publiceren daarnaast tevens tenenkrommende aantijgingen, of gebruiken het subsidiegeld (van wellicht Nederland zelf?) om hier een gerechtelijke procedure te beginnen tegen een minister van een bevriend land, die zich bovendien ook nog al jaren hard maakt voor een vreedzame oplossing van het conflict. Aan die subsidies zijn (hopelijk) wel voorwaarden verbonden, maar als de Europese donoren de Palestijnen gaan voorschrijven wat ze wel en niet kunnen publiceren riekt dat natuurlijk weer naar censuur, en roepen de Arabieren - net zoals bij hun democratische keuze voor Hamas - dat het Westen hypocriet is en met 2 maten meet. - Look who's talking!

    Watchdog: NGOs manipulate judicial systems to demonize Israel
    New study says lawsuits filed by pro-Palestinian groups have 'dangerously promoted anti-Israel publicity'; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog: Israel must do everything possible to tackle this dangerous phenomenon

    Ynet news
    Published:  10.13.08, 11:23

    The Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor launched last week a report titled 'Lawfare' which states that "with little legal basis, NGOs have campaigned to criminalize anti-terror operations of the State of Israel and its leaders.

    "Although no court has rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, these cases have successfully and dangerously promoted anti-Israel publicity, restricted the movement of Israeli military figures and endangered Israeli foreign trade," according to the publication.

    The report said that since 2001, NGOs have brought several spurious charges against Israel and its leaders; these include the accusations of 'genocide' and 'war crimes' against Ariel Sharon supported by Badil (Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights) in the Belgian courts, which "immensely damaged Israel's international image.

    "Meanwhile, cases brought against Major General (res.) Doron Almog and former IDF Chief Shaul Mofaz in the UK courts with the assistance of the NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and against former IDF Chief Moshe Ya'alon and Avi former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter in the US by PCHR and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), threatened to seriously restrict the movement of Israel's military leaders," the study said.

    "CCR also accused the company Caterpillar of 'war crimes' in the US courts over its sale of equipment to the IDF, which endangered Israel's foreign trade relations."

    'Bogus claims against Israel'

    According to the watchdog, the anti-Israel campaign through the courts is "worryingly funded by the European Union and a series of mainly European governments."

    During the release of the 'Lawfare' study at the Mishkenot Sha'ananim Conference Center, Almog recalled the incident in which he was prevented from entering the UK in 2005 following a petition by PCHR and Yesh Gvul.

    "My own experience, as a target of NGO claims through the courts, has made me far more aware of the dangers that NGOs pose. Crucially, this research will alert more people to their motives. It is critical that the State of Israel take note and do everything possible to tackle this dangerous phenomenon," Almog was quoted by NGO Monitor as saying during the event.

    NGO Monitor Executive Director Prof Gerald Steinberg said the study "exposes the NGO bombardment of the world's courts with bogus claims against Israel. Given that not one court has upheld their complaints, it is clear that NGOs continue to manipulate judicial systems, not out of concern for human rights, but as part of the campaign to demonize Israel."

    maandag 13 oktober 2008

    Excuses en veroordeling geweld door Arabische leiders Akko

    Wat is beter: een excuus waarin je tegelijkertijd wel erg duidelijk maakt wat de ander allemaal verkeerd heeft gedaan, of geen excuus? Allebei je fouten toegeven is een mooi concept, maar dat werkt alleen als het ook oprecht overkomt. Toch vind ik de verklaring van de Arabische leiders waardevol, en beter dan niets. Meer nog dan de Arabische automobilist, is degene die kort daarna via de geluidsinstallatie van een moskee beweerde dat de man was gedood en opriep tot wraak, schuldig aan de escalatie en de rellen die het gevolg waren.

    The Jerusalem Post
    Oct 12, 2008 22:22 | Updated Oct 12, 2008 23:06
    Acre's Arab leaders condemn driver

    Acre Arab leaders released a proclamation on Sunday apologizing for the fact that an Arab resident, Jamal Taufik, drove through an overwhelmingly Jewish neighborhood on the evening of Yom Kippur, triggering fierce riots in the city.

    Acre was quiet on Sunday night, as hundreds of policemen patrolled the downtown area where Jews and Arabs live, shop and own stores side by side.

    The proclamation was signed by 11 local Arab leaders including MK Abbas Zakour (United Arab List-Ta'al), Acre Deputy Mayor Gazawi Osama, three municipal councilmen - Sliman Wishakhi, Adham Jamal and Salim Nijmi - Sheikh Muhammad Madi and IBA newsman Zoheir Bahlul.

    "On Yom Kippur and all the Yom Kippurs, we respected, out of our own free will and sensitivity, the holiness of the day for Jews and refrained, almost every one of us, from violating its sanctity by declining to hold events and by not driving our cars," the proclamation stated.

    "We regret that a tiny minority of us did not take such care and chose to drive their cars in a Jewish neighborhood and hurt the feelings of their Jewish neighbors."

    The Arab leaders also wrote, "We condemn the harm done to the [driver]. This behavior is fundamentally unacceptable."

    The leaders also condemned the "acts of vandalism of a handful of irresponsible and wild members of our people who broke the law and sewed destruction by breaking show windows in downtown Acre."

    However, they also condemned "those who thought it was correct to take revenge on innocent Arab residents living in Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city. They also endured injustice, suffering and pain, not to mention material damages.

    "We all suffered," the proclamation continued. "After all, the evil harms everyone."

    But Acre's chief rabbi, Yoseph Yashar, did not like the balance struck by the authors of the proclamation between the actions of the Jews and Arabs and the suffering of both sides.

    In an interview with the Internet news site Ynet, Yashar said, "As long as they link in the same breath the riots of the Arabs on Yom Kippur eve with the acts of vengeance carried out by Jews in response, it will be very hard to calm matters down."

    Zakour told The Jerusalem Post that he had hoped Jewish leaders would reciprocate with a statement of their own regarding the events in Acre, but nothing had been forthcoming. "We felt there was no Jewish leadership that was trying to calm their side," he said.

    Zakour said that Arab leaders had met with Public Security Minister Avi Dichter after the Yom Kippur events and had promised to make an effort to calm the Arab side. "We went to the mosques, we talked to the residents, we walked through the market," he said.

    On Saturday, "after sensing that there was no similar effort by the Jewish leadership," the Arab leaders decided to draft the proclamation. "I am proud of it and I hope the Jewish side will also publish a similar one," said Zakour. "With good will on both sides, we will rebuild Acre."

    But Eli Ben-Shoshan, a shopkeeper and former head of the committee of storeowners on Rehov Ben-Ami, the city's main shopping street, told the Post he was not surprised by the violence that erupted on Yom Kippur.

    "I told an Arab neighbor of mine on Yom Kippur eve that I was going home with a bad feeling," he said.

    According to Ben-Shoshan, there had been a tradition in Acre that Jews gathered after prayers on Yom Kippur eve in the plaza in front of City Hall and mingled until the early hours of the morning. Starting three or four years ago, however, groups of Arab youths had started causing trouble.

    "They rode horses through the plaza and threw plastic bags filled with water or firecrackers at the crowd," he said.

    Ben-Shoshan charged that the city did nothing to stop the troublemakers and that each year the youths became bolder.

    He was skeptical about the claim that Jewish-Arab coexistence in the city had been shattered. "It was an artificial coexistence," he said. "There are gangs of Arab youths who frequently attack Jews. Jews don't go out at night in the downtown area."

    While the Arab population of Acre once lived entirely in the old city, today thousands have moved into the downtown commercial-residential area north of the old city walls. The riots on Yom Kippur eve began in a mainly Jewish neighborhood almost two kilometers east of the center of town and even further from the old city.

    After false rumors spread that Taufik, the Arab driver, had been killed by Jews, a large mob of Arabs marched to towards the eastern neighborhood and smashed shop and car windows on Rehov Ben-Ami.

    Drie Palestijnen met pijpbommen betrapt bij wegversperring Nablus

    Dit soort berichten staat wekelijks in de Israelische kranten, maar nooit in de onze. Zolang Palestijnen aanslagen in Israel proberen te plegen, of op Israelische doelen op de Westoever, zijn de checkpoints nodig om dat te verhinderen. Overigens zijn de controles al verminderd, en werd deze Palestijnen pas gevraagd hun tas te openen nadat ze de achterdocht van een soldaat hadden opgewekt.

    Female soldier prevents attack; 3 Palestinians nabbed
    Three Palestinians carrying nine pipe bombs apprehended at roadblock near Nablus

    Female soldier prevents attack: The IDF nabbed three Palestinians carrying nine pipe bombs at a roadblock west of Nablus Sunday evening, apparently averting a planned terror attack in Israel.

    The attack was foiled as a result of the alertness and insistence of a female soldier at the checkpoint. No injuries were reported in the incident.

    The three Palestinians arrived at the roadblock from the direction of Nablus. The female soldier asked one of them for an identification card, but remained suspicious even after he showed her his ID.

    At that point, the soldier asked the suspect to open his bag, yet he refused. The soldier insisted, prompting the Palestinian to remove a shirt and pants from the bag before closing it again. However, the soldier was not satisfied, opened the bag herself, and found three pipe bombs inside it.

    At that point, troops at the checkpoint activated a special emergency procedure. The Palestinians suspect's two friends were also searched and were found to carry three pipe bombs in each of their bags.

    Sappers dispatched to the scene blew up the explosive devices in a controlled detonation. Meanwhile, the three detainees were taken in for interrogation.

    A similar attack was thwarted at a different roadblock near Nablus last week. A Palestinian who arrived at the checkpoint with a plastic bag aroused the suspicions of Golani troops and members of the IDF's crossings' unit. The soldiers dispatched a sapper, who discovered two small pipe bombs in the bag and blew them up.

    Organisatie van Islamitische Conferentie veroordeeldt herbouw synagoge op Tempelplein

    Het zal Ekmeliddin Ihsanoglu wel zijn ontgaan dat op de Tempelberg ook de meest heilige plaats voor de Joden ligt, en Jeruzalem al een bloeiende Joodse stad was lang voordat de islam zijn intrede deed. Israel heeft, in tegenstelling tot zowel de moslims als de christenen, de heilige plaatsen van alle religies in Jeruzalem geëerbiedigd. De idee dat Israel een synagoge zou bouwen op de Tempelberg is absurd, en Joden mogen daar maar zeer beperkt en onder strenge voorwaarden komen. Israel, en voor haar stichting de Joden, zijn er veelvuldig van beschuldigd de Al Aqsa Moskee te willen vernietigen; onder dat mom werden en worden de Palestijnen tegen Israel en de Joden opgezet, zoals de groot-moefti al deed in 1929. De Organisatie van de Islamitische Conferentie speelt dat vuile spelletje nog steeds.
    Bedoeld is hier mogelijk de herbouw van een synagoge die in 1948 door Jordanië vernietigd was, en aan de overkant van het plein, tegenover de Klaagmuur ligt. Zeker 50 tot 100 meter van de Al Aqsa moskee verwijderd en aansluitend bij het Joodse kwartier. Toen wij vorig jaar Bethlehem bezochten zagen we een Palestijnse krant waarin ook al moord en brand werd geschreeuwd over de herbouw van deze synagoge.
    RP & WB
    OIC Denounces Synagogue Construction near al-Aqsa Mosque
    Date : 13/10/2008  Time : 13:19
    http: //english.wafa.ps/?action=detail&id=12130

    JEDDAH, October 13, 2008, (WAFA - PLO news agency) - Secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeliddin Ihsanoglu, denounced Monday the Israeli breach of constructing a synagogue on a Muslim site.

    In a press release issued today, Ihsanoglu said that constructing the synagogue adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an affront against the place where prophet Mohammed was blessed.

    'Such vicious step is breaching the international law and the Geneva Convention, according to which the occupying country has no right in attacking holy places in the land it occupies', he added angrily.

    Syrische blogger over mensenrechten en censuur

    Voor de mensenrechtenschendingen in Arabische staten zoals Syrië, is nauwelijks aandacht in de media. Het feit dat deze staten niet claimen een democratie te zijn zoals Israël, wil nog niet zeggen dat wij ze daar niet op kunnen en moeten aanspreken, en het moeten opnemen voor de mensen die om hun mening worden opgepakt en gemarteld, en die in een voortdurende angst moeten leven voor de alom tegenwoordige veiligheidsdienst.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Syrian blogger: "I'm leaving and I'm not coming back"


    Alexandra Sandels (Apn)  

    Two years ago, Mohammad Al-Abdallah's brother Omar was sentenced to five years in prison by the Syrian authorities for criticizing the policies of his national government on an Internet forumblog. In December last year, Mohammad's father Ali Abdallah was arrested when he called for political reform in Syria as a member of the 'Damascus Declaration', a Syrian activist group urging 'democratic and radical change'. He is still in detainment in Syria's Adra prison and suffers from poor health. Now Mohammad speaks out about human rights abuses, censorship, and political corruption in his home country on his newly started blog "I'm leaving and I'm not coming back". APN met with Mohammed in Beirut.

    APN: Why do you blog?
    : The idea of starting a blog came when I was asked to give a talk on Internet practices in Syria at a conference in Beirut organized by the Samir Kassir Foundation earlier this year. I've had my blog for approximately four months now. I first set up a blog on blogspot but I recently changed it to wordpress since blogspot is blocked in Syria. It's very important for me to reach out to readers inside Syria. I see it as a continuation of what my brother did before he was arrested and imprisoned. Just like him, I mainly write about political and human rights issues in Syria. Also, sometimes you receive important information that you want to share with the world, but you don't have anywhere to publish it. Perhaps you are the first to find out that an activist or a writer has been arrested in Syria, for example. Writing about it on your blog is an excellent way of sharing it with the world.

    APN: Do you think blogging can change the world and the situation in your country?
    : No one can say with certainty that blogging can or cannot change the situation in a country. I don't know if what we bloggers are doing is "big" or "small" so to say. But I do think that we are having an affect considering the fact that the authorities are doing their best to their keep Internet activists at bay. When a Syrian activist recently was arrested no was talking about his ordeal except the bloggers. They were the ones who first noticed it and the story rose from the blogs.

    APN: What do you see as the difference between a blogger and a journalist in your country?
    : For me, the biggest difference between bloggers and journalists is that there are no rules or censorship in blogging. You don't have to worry about the word count of your article and editors hanging over your shoulder telling you what's good and bad. Most importantly, you publish exactly what you want. No one picks your words except yourself. Your writings are not subject to censorship before publication which is the case with newspapers. In Syria, journalists are subject to extensive censorship. There are no independent newspapers in Syria. They are all governmental in one way or another.

    APN: Do you practice self-censorship?
    : I don't practice self-censorship because I don't blog from within Syria. But if I were there, I wouldn't be able to write the way I do. I remember when I was still living in Syria how I used to rewrite some of my pieces, making sure I use the correct titles for high-level politicians when mentioning them in my writings. If you are unlucky, you can actually get persecuted for not doing so. So yes, self-censorship, even among bloggers, is widespread in Syria. At times, I notice how people who are blogging from inside Syria remove comments I've left on their blogs out of fear.

    APN: What topics are considered taboo to write about in Syria then?
    : The biggest taboo-labeled subjects are, of course, the President and his family, the Syrian security services, the political opposition, and anything that concerns Syria's relations with Hezbollah.

    APN: That's a whole lot. How do the Syrian people find out what is ACTUALLY happening in their country?
    : The whole concept of 'right to information' does simply not exist in Syria. You will never find out the truth about what is really happening on a governmental level. Blogs are helpful sources of information though.

    APN: What topics inspire you?
    : My background as a human rights activist inspire me to write about human rights and politics in Syria. I also write extensively on the situation of bloggers in the Arab world.

    APN: Have you ever been subject to harassment or intimidation for your activism?
    : Not personally since I'm not blogging from inside Syria. My brother, however, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence along with six other Syrian students for criticizing the Syrian authorities on their blog. He has been held in a military prison for two and a half years now. I haven't been able to talk to him since March 2006. Am I scared of being persecuted for my work? That's something you should ask the bloggers in Syria, not me. I'm sure they are scared.

    APN: Is there a difference between blogging in English and Arabic in Syria?
    : If you're a blogger in Syria and write in English, no one from the authorities will give you a problem. What they don't want is the Syrians reading your criticism of the government, they don't care that much about the outside world. So writing in Arabic, which most of Syrian bloggers do, is what gets you into trouble.

    APN: What are your future plans? Do you see yourself continue to blog?
    : I will definitely continue blogging. I have no plans to stop. In terms of future plans, I hope to improve my writing skills in English and actually start blogging more in English so that I can reach out to people in Europe and the US. My goal is to continue blogging in both Arabic and English.


    Alexandra Sandels is a Beirut-based Swedish journalist
    This article comes from the Arab Press Network:

    zondag 12 oktober 2008

    Ooggetuigeverslag van de rellen in Acco

    Aan beide kanten lijkt de in meerderheid vreedzame bevolking wel erg veel begrip te tonen voor het geweld aan eigen kant. Begrip voor de positie van de ander, voor zijn begrijpelijke grieven, angsten en frustraties lijkt vooralsnog te ontbreken, en is wel een noodzakelijk onderdeel van vreedzame coexistentie.

    Een  fermer politie optreden had de gevoelens van onveiligheid en 'het heft in eigen hand moeten nemen' wel kunnen verminderen.

    The Jerusalem Post
    Oct 12, 2008 0:40 | Updated Oct 12, 2008 1:19
    Eyewitness: 'This is our city'

    It's Friday afternoon in eastern Acre, and outraged crowds are beginning to gather in the Jewish neighborhoods that make up this part of the city.

    Two nights of rioting have rocked Acre since an Arab resident of the Old City drove into this neighborhood on Yom Kippur, in what the police describe as an intentional provocation.

    Responding to false rumors that the driver had been badly wounded, around 500 Arabs - some armed with axes according to eyewitnesses - then marched into the eastern neighborhoods, chanting "Death to the Jews" as the mob smashed hundreds of cars and stores.

    Today, a segment of the city's Jewish population will try to take their revenge.

    "This is our city. What happened on Yom Kippur was a pogrom. We had to hide in our own homes and turn off the lights as the mob passed," said Datya Bracha Malka, a middle-aged resident of the city, en route to a demonstration held to protest Yom Kippur's events.

    "All of the cars on our road were damaged. Some were flipped over and burned," recounted Herzl Malka, her husband and an independent businessman. "The TV news has swept this under the carpet."

    The media are not popular among Jews in Acre, a largely poor Sephardic community, which feels estranged from what they perceive as the left-wing elites who manage the government and the media.

    "They [the media] are making out like we are the aggressors. Why don't they come here to speak to us? We've had a Kristallnacht here. You are the first journalist we've seen," another woman said.

    The police are universally condemned here as having failed to protect the people of eastern Acre and their property. That feeling has led some of the city's Jewish youths to conclude that they should take the law into their own hands. They do not have to wait long for their opportunity.

    Loud Oriental Jewish music blares from a procession of cars adorned with Israeli flags, as thousands march on the main Rehov Ben-Ami, chanting against the police, some shouting "Death to the Arabs!"

    Riot police quickly become engaged in a scuffle with a number of youths, as bricks and rocks begin flying in their direction.

    "You son of a bitch, he is a Jew!" some of the youths shout at the police, as officers swing their clubs down hard on one of the rioters.

    "Enough, you're killing him!" the demonstrators shout.

    Meanwhile, a determined group of around 20 youths exploit the distraction to move around the police. Acre is currently littered with police checkpoints designed to keep Jews and Arabs apart. But this group has another goal in mind.

    "We are heading toward the house of an Arab who fired on us last night," one teenager says.

    A pony-tailed leader quickly emerges.

    "Everyone must have two rocks in their hands," he says, and his friends obey, arming themselves with large bricks and stones. The youths take off their T-shirts and turn them into face masks.

    An Egged bus passes by and the unmistakable sound of rock hitting metal is heard. The driver screeches to a halt in amazement.

    "He's a Jew!" another dominant member of the gang says.

    Target misidentified. The driver makes his escape.

    As they close in on the house, situated in the northernmost point of Acre, the youths list their grievances against their Arab neighbors. A litany of charges is heard.

    "They vandalize our homes. They disrespect our women. They're trying to push us out of Acre. We have to defend ourselves," one says.

    Police reach the house first, and officers in riot gear keep the youths far back. The sound of what appears to be a gunshot from the direction of the house shatters the air.

    "It's him, he's shooting again!" the youths say.

    Suddenly, an off-duty soldier in a baseball cap and a vest walks quickly toward the police line, with an M-16 rifle flung around his shoulder.

    "What is he doing? He's crazy," an older man says. "Get him out of here before the mob snatches his weapon and begins firing on the house."

    Older men restrain the soldier and escort him away from the front line.

    "Death to the Arabs!" the youths shout, responding to the shot. A second shot is heard, and then a third, and a fourth. The sounds send the youths into a frenzy.

    Behind them, the thousands of marchers held back on Rehov Ben-Ami have finally caught up, and police realize they are hopelessly outnumbered.

    Two police helicopters buzz above, as officers desperately attempt to get more men on horseback and riot police to the scene.

    "The mayor has asked you to return to your homes," a policeman tells the demonstrators via a loudspeaker.

    The reply comes in the form of a large rock thrown at police lines. More stones and bottles follow.

    Losing their patience, police bring in a large white jeep with a water cannon affixed to the roof. The cannon is slowly pointed at the crowd.

    "Don't run, it's only water!" one young protester shouts.

    But the jet is powerful and blasts the front line of the demonstration, forcing people back. Deafening explosions are heard as police fire stun grenades into the crowd. The demonstrators duck and cover their heads, falling back.

    The masked group has already moved on. Finding another Arab house equipped with a closed-circuit TV camera, the youths climb up on the gates surrounding the home and smash the camera.

    "Well done. You're our men!" one woman shouts at them.

    Older residents of Acre say the youths are out of control. But they say it is all the police's fault for failing to rein in Arab rioters.

    "There's no coexistence here," one woman says. "Israel's biggest problems are the Arabs living here. We need an internal army."

    Herzl Malka says he worries that Acre's Arabs will enlist the support of other Arabs living in the Galilee.

    "They're a majority in the Galilee. They will begin to demand autonomy," he warns.

    As the sun sets and Shabbat begins, hundreds gather outside of the Beit Ha'am synagogue to pray. A temporary calm sets in. But if the rumors flying among the residents are true, the quiet will not last.

    A group of youths is planning to burn down a number of Arab houses. Acre is far from calm.

    Steunmanifestatie in Gaza voor Arabieren van Acco

    Gelukkig hebben de Israelisch-Arabische leiders dergelijke oproepen tot een derde intifadah verworpen en de noodzaak benadrukt met de Joden samen te leven. Het is tekenend dat Hamas en andere Palestijnse gewapende groepen op deze manier proberen de Arabieren in Israel tegen de Joden op te hitsen. Zoals gewoonlijk schuwt men het gebruik van grote woorden daarbij niet. Ook valt weer eens op dat Hamas tegen iedere vorm van onderhandelen en vrede is, en de gewapende strijd met als doel de verdwijning van heel Israel voorstaat. Dat dringt om de een of andere reden maar niet tot de Nederlandse media en vooral progressieve politici door.


    Gaza groups hold support rally for Akko's Arabs

    Northern city riots prompt Strip's militants to stage show of solidarity with Arab residents of Akko. 'These events bring our people closer to victory,' says Islamic Jihad member; 'riots are an exercise in ethnic cleansing,' adds Hamas spokesman
    Ali Waked - Ynet News
    Published: 10.12.08, 15:13

    Gaza for Akko's Arabs: The various Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip held a support rally for the Arab resident of Akko on Sunday.

    The rally was orchestrated by the Palestinian Research Center, which is affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, but members of various Palestinian groups gave speeches during the assembly.

    Dr. Muhammad al-Hindi, a senior member of Islamic Jihad said that "the events in Akko bring our people closer to victory, closer to removing the occupying entity that calls itself Israel… the Zionist entity claiming to be a democracy, is upholding racist policies against out people in occupied Palestine.

    "It is a racist nation, second to none," he added, "and 62% of the Israelis support these racist polices."

    'Victory is near'
    The various calls for a peaceful coexistence are nothing but a diversion tactic, continued al-Hindi, and are an attempt to conceal an official policy of racism, practiced by the law enforcement and judicial systems in Israel.

    "This is nothing but racism, which stems from their blind hatred and what they call their Talmud," he said.

    Dr. Salah Bardawil, a Hamas spokesman, called the Akko riots "an exercise in ethnic cleansing, which the Israelis aren't even trying to hide. All the talks about a Jewish State, that started at the Annapolis Summit with American support, are indicative of the intent to drive Arabs off their land.

    "We warned the Palestinian negotiations against this trap. Annapolis was all about creating a pure Zionist state. The Zionists are trying to force their beliefs on our people. We call on the Palestinians to stop the unnecessary peace talks, which only help the Zionists carry out their plans."

    Al-Hindi and other Palestinian officials congratulated the Arab residents of Akko on their actions, issuing a joint statement which said, "We say to our people in Akko – Israel will disappear. Allah will provide the victory and it is close. We say to our people in Akko – all the schemes have failed. All the plans to divide our people, as seen in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in Palestine, occupied since 1948 – have failed." 

    Popular Resistance Committees spokesmen Abu Abir and Abu Mujahid condemned what they called "crimes portrayed against the Palestinians," and pledged their support to the Palestinian residents of the northern city.

    They too, promised that "victory is near. The organizations' response to the events in Akko will make the Zionist enemy tremble. Palestine is for Palestinians and Muslims."

    Burgemeesters gemengde steden bang om verspreiding rellen Acco

    Ik heb weleens eerder geschreven dat ik het soms nog een wonder vind dat rellen zoals in Akko niet vaker plaatsvinden. Ook in Nederland en in extremere mate in Frankrijk zijn er de afgelopen jaren heftige rellen geweest. Israel is armer, en Joden en Arabieren zijn daar al meer dan 60 jaar in een strijd om het land verwikkeld, waardoor de vijandbeelden en wederzijdse angsten veel sterker zijn. Religieuze, nationalistische en culturele sentimenten lopen door elkaar heen.
    De armoede bestrijden (onder beide bevolkingsgroepen) en de discriminatie van Arabische inwoners van Israel tegengaan zijn noodzakelijke, maar waarschijnlijk niet voldoende maatregelen om dit soort rellen (en erger) te voorkomen. Daarvoor moeten de wederzijdse vooroordelen en vijandbeelden worden afgebouwd, er een einde komen aan de antisemitische propaganda in de Arabische wereld, en het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict worden opgelost.  
    'Acre could be just the beginning,' fear mixed-city mayors
    By Yoav Stern

    Jews and Arabs in mixed cities on Saturday warned that riots similar to the ones that erupted in Acre over Yom Kippur could take place in cities like Lod, Ramle and Jaffa, each of which has a combination of underprivileged Jewish and Arab communities.

    Community activists in Lod said over the weekend that they feared clashes between the Jewish and Arab communities.

    "I don't know if it will happen in a day, two days or two months but it's certainly a possibility," said Bothaina Debit, a community activist in Lod. That city's Arab community, she said, is suffering from socio-economic distress that it will have trouble sustaining for much longer.
    "It happened in Acre, but I thought it would happen in Lod because there are masses of Arab residents who have nothing to lose, and the poor Jews are also stuck here. Acre could be just the beginning."

    Rumors spread among the Arab public Saturday that right-wing Jewish groups were acting with evacuees from Gush Katif to settle in mixed cities. Consequently a minor incident could spark a huge riot.

    "We're not talking about an idyllic coexistence. The situation is explosive, things could be much worse than the Acre riots," Aviv Wasserman, director of the Lod Foundation, told Haaretz Saturday.

    The Acre riots should be a warning signal to all those involved, according to Wasserman. "Too many people are sitting on the fence. This is the time to act - for both government and social organizations. We must invest in the mixed cities," he said.

    The Arab MKs in the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee decided not to convene their umbrella organization to discuss the Acre events, in the hope that postponing a meeting would help things calm down in the city. Similarly, a number of them said they would not visit Acre now, out of fear that their presence would provoke similar visits from radical right-wing MKs.

    Arab leaders Saturday dismissed Hamas and Islamic Jihad calls over the weekend to renew the confrontation with Israel. The organizations said there was no diffference between Acre and Gaza, or Jerusalem and Ramallah.

    MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List) told the Abu Dhabi television network Saturday that he rejected calls to open a third intifada following the Acre events.

    "These calls are harmful. We'll defend ourselves against racism in public and political ways, and not opt for an intifada," Tibi said.

    Peres en Livni roepen op tot kalmte in Acco / Knessetleden wijzen met de vinger

    Terwijl Peres, Livni en Olmert oproepen tot kalmte en verzoening, beschuldigen Knessetleden van de Arabische en rechtse partijen de andere kant van pogroms.
    MK Barakeh maakt het wel heel bont:

    "We see a great danger in these attacks. They are similar to the pogroms that Jews were exposed to at the hands of the Nazi gangs in Germany," Barakeh told reporters.

    Onnodig te zeggen, dat dergelijk taalgebruik niet bepaald bijdraagt aan een sfeer van rust en tolerantie.


    Livni tells Acre residents: Don't take law into your own hands
    By Yoav Stern and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents

    Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday paid a visit to Acre, the site of recent clashes between Jewish and Arab residents, that she said was aimed at sending the message that no one should take the law into their own hands.

    Livni, who is also chairman of the ruling Kadima party, said even if people are angry, they should let the authorities enforce the law. "It's obvious that it's the role of the police to do this."

    She said that in light of the violence, there needs to be a "message of reconciliation and cooperation to calm tempers within the population, so that [residents] will continue to live together." Livni also affirmed that Yom Kippur is a part of Israel's heritage and that, "Every citizen has to respect this day."

    President Shimon Peres on Friday called on Acre's residents and leaders to think of their city's image in light of the violence.

    "There is no one in Israel who doesn't regret what is happening in Acre. Acre doesn't necessarily have to appear so, that grave events such as these would happen in Acre - events that embarrass all of the city's residents. No one will gain from these riots, everyone will lose from these riots," Peres said.

    On Thursday, Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) responded to the clashes in the northern city, calling the violence a "pogrom perpetrated by Jews against Arab residents."

    "The police displayed helpless discrimination in its treatment of the assault on Arab residents," Tibi said.

    The riots erupted before dawn Wednesday when an Arab resident of the mixed town drove his car into a Jewish neighborhood during the holy day of Yom Kippur, during which even secular Jews refrain from driving out of respect. Jewish rioters alleged that the man defiantly played loud music, and proceeded to assault him, sparking large scale clashes between Jews and Arabs in the area.

    Israeli Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash) said the incident had less to do with Yom Kippur than a deliberate "escalation of racist speech" ahead of Israeli municipal elections next month.

    "We see a great danger in these attacks. They are similar to the pogroms that Jews were exposed to at the hands of the Nazi gangs in Germany," Barakeh told reporters.

    When Acre police intervened, Barakeh said, "they fired rubber bullets and tear gas" to prevent Arabs defending their homes, to which police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld responded that police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse rioters, not rubber bullets.

    MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) also responded to the incident, saying "exactly eight years after the October riots [that sparked the second intifada], it appears that nothing has been done to implement the recommendations of the Or Commission in regard to Israel's Arabs," referring to the probe panel that investigated the 2000 riots, during which Israeli police shot and killed 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian.

    "We are sitting on a barrel of explosives, and every time we are surprised anew when the tension explodes, rather than making a genuine effort to stop it," Beilin added.

    MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and the police commissioner must both resign over the incident. "The state of Israel has become the only country in the Western world where pogroms are carried out against Jews, with physical harm to them and their property and chants of 'death to Jews,'" he said.

    "A police force that is unable to protect Jewish neighborhoods needs to take a hard look at itself," he added.

    MK Eliyahu Gabbay (National Unity-NRP) said that "time after time Jews in mixed cities and in towns adjacent to Arab villages find themselves persecuted, victims of violent rampages by Israeli Arabs fueled by Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism and with the encouragement and incitement of Israeli Arab leaders."

    "Israel's leadership needs to wake up, regain its composure and start protecting its Jewish citizens with actions, not just words," Gabbay went on to say. "Many Jews living in mixed cities feel that they live in the Diaspora. The government has to employ every measure to restore security to Jewish citizens.

    54 Arrestaties in 4 dagen rellen te Acco

    Ondanks oproepen van onder andere Olmert, Livni, en mensen uit zowel de Arabische als Joodse gemeenschappen, om het geweld te staken en de rust te doen weerkeren, gaan de rellen in Acco door. Hoewel maar een kleine groep direct bij de rellen betrokken is, zijn zij het gevolg van breder gevoelde spanningen en frustratie aan beide kanten. Er zijn echter ook mensen die met daadwerkelijke actie proberen aan coëxistentie en wederzijds begrip te werken, zoals de Hashomer Hatzair jeugd beweging.
    Akko: 54 arrested in 4 days of riots



    Police remain on high alert in northern city for fear riots will be resumed. At least 54 Jews and Arabs arrested since clashes began on Yom Kippur. Members of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement to build 'sukkah of peace' in city


    Hagai Einav

    Published:  10.12.08, 10:03

    At least 54 people were arrested in the past four days of riots in the northern city of Akko, which broke out on Yom Kippur Eve, half of them Jewish and half Arab. Among the detainees are two teenagers, who were placed under house arrest.


    Forty-four of the detainees were already brought before a court, and the 10 others will attend a hearing at the Krayot Magistrate's Court on Sunday.


    The police plan to recommend that some of the suspects be indicted over their involvement in riots, arson, violent incidents and disturbances.


    There is one person, however, who was not arrested – an Arab resident who on the Eve of Yom Kippur notified the Muslim residents of Akko as to what was happening to an Arab Driver in a Jewish neighborhood. The police, who are aware of the man's identity, believe that his arrest will help calm the situation in Akko, but he is still at large.


    The police said Sunday that the suspect was not a muezzin (the person who announces prayers at the mosque) but an Arab youth, who had received a call from the brother of the Arab driver who entered a Jewish neighborhood, and told him of the attack and that he required help.


    The police believe that the suspect then entered one of the city's mosques whose loudspeaker system was wired into the other mosques in the city, and alerted the Arab population to what was going on in the Jewish neighborhood, starting the riots.


    "The suspect knows that we are aware of his identity, and he has fled," said Chief Superintendent Avi Edri. Many of Akko's residents believe that once the agitator is arrested, the city will finally calm down.


    The Akko riots were also at the focus of Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting. Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen briefed the ministers on the recent developments in the northern city.


    Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter was expected to visit the city following the cabinet meeting and meet with Mayor Shimon Lankry, local police officers and residents. Before the meeting Dichter urged the residents to calm things down.


    The Nahariya hospital treated 14 people between the ages of 14 and 43, all of them Jews, since the onset of the riots. Some were injured by stones in their head and limbs, and two were hurt by horses used by the police. The hospital's emergency room has declared a state of emergency.

    Fourth evening of riots (Photo: Dudu Azulay)


    Hundreds of police officers are still deployed in Akko for fear that the riots will resume. Police Commissioner Cohen said Saturday evening that the main goal was to safeguard human life, and that "so far, we have succeeded in this mission."


    At the end of an evaluation of the situation with the Northern Command and Galilee District, the police chief said that "every disturbance will be dealt with firmly and determinedly, in order to maintain law and order."


    According to Cohen, the police will continue their dialogue with the city's leaders in order to bring about a state of calm and a return to routine, while in the meantime special and skilled police forces will continue deploying in the city.



    Following the riots, some 30 guides of the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement plan to arrive at Akko's Rabin Square on Sunday in order to build a "sukkah of peace" together with Jewish and Arab residents.


    Aviv Leshem, a spokesman for the Kibbutz Movement, said that "the youngsters wandered around the city yesterday, met Arab residents and decided to build the sukkah (traditional bower) in a counter-response to the incidents taking place in the city."


    The youths plan to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot in the sukkah and host Arab residents and public figures from the city's different sectors.


    Itai Yehudai of the Hashomer Hatzair Movement said, "We live in Akko and are here. Our commune said that someone must show that there are people in Akko who are not only looking for violence, but that there is another way to deal with the problem. This is an educational statement directed at the Israeli public."


    He said the initiative to build the sukkah was born after viewing the grave images from the riots. "We were very angered by these pictures. We know there are racist people in this country who act violently, but we wanted to show that problems can also be solved without hatred and harsh segregation.


    "Fortunately, the Akko Municipality opened its doors and the police helped us. We invite people who think that things could be different to visit the sukkah all week. They are invited to sit down and talk about what happened and think how we should live together in this city. We are also planning activities for children and preparation of sukkah ornaments."


    Three people were lightly injured by stones hurled at them during Saturday evening's riots. Jewish rioters torched the home of an Arab family in the city. An initial police investigation revealed that a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the house.


    Ten people were arrested during Saturday's clashes, six of them Jews. Four Arabs were detained on suspicion of throwing stones at passerby from their house.


    Yael Levy and Roni Sofer contributed to this report

    Israël en de mislukking van de vrije markt

    Wie zei dat de Arbeidspartij op sterven na dood was? De financieel-economische crisis die ook Israël raakt, komt voor het grootste deel door het roekeloos privatiseren en dereguleren en alles aan de vrije markt overlaten, zoals dat na de val van de muur wereldwijd de norm werd. Net als de PvdA hier, moet de Arbeidspartij in Israël terug naar de sociaaldemocratische principes. Helaas mist men daar de hete adem van de SP in de nek, maar de slechte peilingen zouden toch ook een signaal moeten zijn.
    "Until next Yom Kippur, Israel will have to do soul-searching that is not economic alone. The state will have to redefine itself as a social-democratic society that balances market forces with the basic values of partnership, fairness and responsibility."

    The October failure

    Yom Kippur 2008 is a Day of Atonement for the economy. And yet, the image that came up in the meeting of economic experts with Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak this week harked back to Yom Kippur 1973. That is the situation, more or less, one of the experts said. The Egyptian army has come as far as Be'er Sheva, the Syrian army is on the shores of the Kinneret, and the government has not yet decided whether to open the emergency storage facilities and call up the reserves. The government is paralyzed in the face of this unprecedented challenge. The result of the new economic-social failure, for which Ehud Olmert, Roni Bar-On and Stanley Fischer are responsible, might be no less dramatic than the results of the political-security failure that brought about the Yom Kippur War 35 years ago.

    We should listen to the expert-prophet of doom. Three years ago he precisely predicted the crisis on Wall Street. Two years ago he predicted correctly that an economic tsunami was on its way to Israel. He is not the only one. In quite a few Tel Aviv high-rise office buildings sit fairly conservative professionals who are seeing the worst. Senior economists who do not tend to have extreme opinions are anxiously watching what is happening and not happening. Without discussing things among themselves, experts are analyzing the global financial crisis and the Israeli economic breakdown in similar terminology and sometimes using the exact same words. Everyone agrees there is not a day to waste. It is one minute to midnight.

    The virus is one of a lack of responsibility, of zealous and foolish faith in the market's mysterious hand. This faith, which became religious dogma after the Berlin Wall fell, led to the process of the market's destruction, a process that strengthened over about 20 years. The cheap money of recent years turned the market's destruction into a cancer. Wall Street's conservative values eroded. Stable, cautious and traditional banking was replaced by an adventurer system of hedonistic and greedy financial institutions. The greed became a component in a game for the sake of the game.
    Capital of mythic proportions, which was disconnected from real industrial capital and real economic values, was busy cloning and upgrading itself without restraint. Without the threat of socialism to rein them in and lacking the moderating presence of the state and regulation, global capitalism went into a tailspin. It lost its ability to right itself and became a bizarre and corrupt bubble that had to burst.

    The experts in Tel Aviv are not Shelly Yachimovich and Dov Khenin. They are central, veteran market players who have seen for years how the market has been losing its balance; how the market that believes only in itself is swallowing up the country, dismantling society and eroding the middle class; how the time to sober up has arrived, the time for penance, they say. What has been will no longer be. The major recession descending on America, Europe and Russia will continue for years and spawn a new world order that will no longer heed the market's powers as if they were a god and idols.

    The problem is Israel. The virus of irresponsibility has struck it three times. Once in the 1990s, when it adopted blind faith in the market, which led to widespread privatization, the concentration of huge amounts of capital in the hands of a few tycoons and the creation of dangerous social gaps.

    The second time was when Israel recklessly reformed its capital market. That led to the unfettered issuing of corporate bonds, most of which were financed by speculative activities abroad. They are casting a cold shadow on the local financial system to the tune of about NIS 100 million.

    Israel's third mistake came during the past year, when it kept interest rates high, the shekel strong, and pursued a dogmatic policy of non-government interference. This led to the quiet withering of industry and production.

    These three strategic mistakes stemmed from worshipping the market, ignoring society and disgust with the state. All three stemmed from the illusion that the private sector and business can replace the political and public realm in everything and everywhere. All three show that Israeli capitalism in recent decades has suffered from a lack of good judgment and responsibility.

    There will be no choice. Just as the Bank of Israel intervened yesterday, so the government will intervene. With criminal tardiness, the state's powers will be called up and thrown into the fray. Israel will bleed economically, but will overcome. And when we return from battling the immediate crisis there will be no choice but to do battle with the crisis in values. After we overcome the market failure we will have to heal the cultural failure of worshipping the market.

    Until next Yom Kippur, Israel will have to do soul-searching that is not economic alone. The state will have to redefine itself as a social-democratic society that balances market forces with the basic values of partnership, fairness and responsibility.