zaterdag 23 mei 2009

Premier Netanjahoe op Jeruzalem Dag

Zonder deling van Jeruzalem is vrede met de Palestijnen vrijwel onmogelijk. Op Jeruzalem Dag wordt de eenheid van Jeruzalem gevierd, maar die eenheid is zeer betrekkelijk. Er zijn grote verschillen tussen het oosten en westen van de stad, er rijden zelfs verschillende bussen in het Joodse en Arabische deel. De meeste Arabische inwoners hebben (uit eigen keus) geen Israelisch paspoort, en er ligt zelfs een compleet Palestijns vluchtelingenkamp binnen de gemeentegrenzen. Men zou verwachten dat Israel zeker dat laatste graag kwijt zou zijn.
De verknochtheid aan Jeruzalem heeft dan ook wat het oostelijk deel betreft in de praktijk vooral betrekking op de Oude Stad met de Klaagmuur en de herbouwde Joodse wijk, de Olijfberg, Mount Scopus met de Hebreeuwse Universiteit (die tussen 1949-1967 als een enclave in Jordaans gebied lag) en wellicht nog wat plaatsen die ik als buitenstaander niet ken.
Het zou verstandig zijn de geesten rijp te maken voor de schijnbaar onvermijdelijke deling, door tenminste in de retoriek de Arabische delen al los te weken van de Joodse.

Address by PM Netanyahu on the occasion of Jerusalem Day
State Ceremony, Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem

Honorable President, Mr. Shimon Peres,
Honorable Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Reuven Rivlin,
President of the Supreme Court, Justice Dorit Beinish,
Ministers, Members of Knesset,
Chairman of the Opposition,
Israel's Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger,
Chief of the General Staff, Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi,
Dear Bereaved Families,
IDF Fighters and their Families,
Distinguished Guests,

Last night I returned to Jerusalem, our capital, from a very important visit to Washington, capital of the United States.  It was very important for me to come back to participate in this ceremony and say the same things I said in the United States:

United Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  Jerusalem has always been - and always will be - ours.  It will never again be divided or cut in half. Jerusalem will remain only under Israel's sovereignty.  In united Jerusalem, the freedom of worship and freedom of access for all three religions to the holy sites will be guaranteed, and it is the only way to guarantee that members of all faiths, minorities and denominations can continue living here safely.

Distinguished guests,

For nineteen years Jerusalem was a wounded city; a city at the heart of which were barbed wires and minefields, firing posts and "no-man's lands"; a city whose main streets were covered with defensive walls against snipers; a city whose residents could not move freely from place to place. In June 1967, this situation changed forever. It changed in this place, on Ammunition Hill, and in other heroic battles inside Jerusalem.

You, fighters for the liberation of Jerusalem, with your bodies and with the blood of your comrades, pried open the chokehold, united the city together, and allowed Jerusalem to be reopened once again as a lively, vibrant city.

I enlisted shortly after the liberation of Jerusalem and I met with one of the fighters, who is here with us today, Nir Nitzan. He did not voluntarily tell us; we had to repeatedly ask him to tell us what happened here, in that battle. Ultimately, quietly, shortly, dryly even, he told us a little of what took place here on that day, and we, as youngsters, stood in awe of the greatness of spirit, solidarity and sacrifice of those fighters who fought here, and the many others who fought in other places.  The fighters who fell instilled pride in our people and gave us back our capital.  As a boy, that day was etched in my memory.  I remember the elation following the words of Motta Gur, when we heard the news on the radio and Motta Gur announced: "Har Habayit is in our hands!" The excitement we felt was something neither we nor any other Jew experienced for generations. It lifted the hearts of Jews all over the world.

Another remarkable thing happened: thousands, thousands of Israeli citizens, not only from Jerusalem, but from all over the country, rushed in masses into the Old City, passing through roads that were previously blocked, places we were never allowed to set foot in, through barbed wires, along the now shattered separation walls, climbing rocks and entering into back alleys - all of us heading towards the same place: the Western Wall. I remember that the square was narrow - in fact, there was no square at all - and the place was too narrow to contain the large masses, and each of us waited our turn to arrive at that ancient wall. I remember the beating of my heart and the exhilaration I felt when I first touched the stones of the Western Wall, thinking about King David, King Solomon, Israel's prophets and kings and the Maccabim. I thought about the people of Israel throughout the generations, as did the thousands of Israelis who arrived there.  The liberation of Jerusalem and the Western Wall marked for all of us the deep connection to the roots of Jewish history.  We felt that the dream of generations had finally come true.

Thousands of years ago, a Psalms poet wrote: "built-up Jerusalem is like a city that is united together". It is as if this song was written now about the events of our generation.

Look around you and see how Jerusalem is built, how it is connected, how it grows and develops to the east and west, north and south.  Jews, Muslims and Christians, religious and secular, ultra-orthodox and conservatives live here in peace and good neighborly relations.

Look around you and see how vibrant and full of life Jerusalem is, during the day and night.  The houses of prayer and synagogues are filled, as are the cafés and recreational places.

But Jerusalem is not only a city of the day-to-day or night life.  It is first and foremost a city of sanctity, a city of vision, a city of prayer; the eyes of the entire world are fixed on Jerusalem.  As Isaiah prophesized: "it will happen in the end of days: The mountain of the Temple of the Almighty will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it, for from Zion will the Torah come forth, and the word of the Almighty from Jerusalem".

Since the unification of Jerusalem under Israel's flag, this prophecy has been gradually coming true.  Never, in the thousands of years of its history, has Jerusalem been so great and remarkable, never did it have such freedom of worship for members of all faiths and such free access to all places of worship.  Pilgrims, believers and visitors from all ends of the universe visit Jerusalem every day.

Our connection to Jerusalem is thousands of years old.  As a people, we have never relinquished "the apple of our eye", the object of our prayers, our nation's capital, Jerusalem.  Today, as a state, we are fulfilling this age-old yearning, this ancient wish.

The greatest hardships, exiles and difficulties in history could never dissuade us from pursuing the realization of the Jewish people's dream of generations - the establishment of a state in the land of Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital.  This was the wish of every Jew in exile, at every community and in every prayer: "next year in built-up Jerusalem".  I believe that only the reuniting of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty would enable us to quickly fulfill the second part of Isaiah's prophecy: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares.nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer learn how to wage warfare".

This is our prayer, and this is our hope here in Jerusalem.

Ontruiming buitenpost Westoever staat los van Obama volgens Barak

Eindelijk is weer eens een illegale buitenpost op de Westelijke Jordaanoever ontruimd. - Illegaal volgens de Israelische wet! Barak wil er nog een hele reeks laten ontruimen, omdat in een rechtsstaat de wet gehandhaafd dient te worden, zo benadrukt hij. Toch was hij al een jaartje of 2 aan het onderhandelen met de kolonisten over het vrijwillig opdoeken van buitenposten. Dat men nu pas tot aktie overgaat, lijkt dan toch wel erg te maken hebben met het bezoek van Netanjahoe aan Obama.

Last update - 23:54 21/05/2009
Barak: We didn't bow to Obama on West Bank outpost evacuation
By Yossi Verter and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that pressure from the United States did not bring about the evacuation by Israeli security Forces of an illegal West Bank outpost earlier in the day.

"There is no connection to American pressure, and I have clarified this to the settler leaders," Barak said.

The evacuation of the outpost of Maoz Esther on Thursday morning came only a day after Defense Ministry sources told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak have agreed on a plan to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank, mainly those located on Palestinian land.

This was part of the "price" Netanyahu paid Obama in exchange for the latter's statements about Iran's nuclearization, the sources said.

But Barak added: "The subject of unauthorized outposts is an obligation of Israeli society to itself... a society that desires life and preserves the law cannot accept attempts by citizens to undermine the nature of the state."

In an apparent nod to diplomatic pressure exerted by the Obama administration, Israeli security forces evacuated the West Bank settlement outpost of Maoz Esther on Thursday morning.

Security forces hauled away seven metal containers converted to cabins during the evacuation. Several youths were at the camp but there was no violence, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

On Wednesday, the sources said Barak intended to dismantle a number of outposts out of 26 illegal ones. "It is up to him entirely, and on the time and circumstances he sees fit. Netanyahu won't make difficulties. They're in sync," a source said.

Ministers, including those from Likud, said Wednesday that Netanyahu probably promised United States President Barack Obama in their meeting that Israel would dismantle outposts soon.

Barak told the Yesha settlers council Wednesday that Israel will dismantle the illegal outposts by force if dialogue proves fruitless. Barak is trying to reach an agreement with the settlers on dismantling the outposts.

"We will dismantle the illegal outposts," Barak said. "If it won't be through understanding, it will be done quickly and by force."

Evacuating illegal outposts in the West Bank is expected to be the Netanyahu government's first gesture toward Obama and the Palestinian Authority.

This is part of the "price" Netanyahu paid Obama in exchange for the latter's statements about Iran's nuclearization, the sources said.

Sources close to Barak said Wednesday that the first outposts are expected to be evacuated within a few weeks - either with the settlers' agreement or by force.

Before going to Washington, Netanyahu and chief of policy planning Ron Dermer drafted the new government's policy principals. The document, which Netanyahu issued for distribution only after meeting Obama, says Israel is ready to evacuate the illegal outposts. As for stopping construction in the settlements the document was more cagey, saying the settlements were not an obstacle to peace and that the evacuation of settlements in Gaza only led to the establishment of a Hamas terror base in the Gaza Strip.

During the meeting, held at the minister's bureau in Tel Aviv, Barak went on to say, "We can't compromise on law enforcement. A sovereign country that seeks life must enforce its laws and implement the state's authority over its citizens."

He said the new Israeli government would take action against the outposts, not because it was told to do so by the United States, but because Israel "is a state of law."

Barak added that the illegal outposts cause extensive damage to Israel in the international arena, and even weaken the settler movement. Therefore, he said, the problem of the unauthorized outposts should be addressed first and foremost.

The meeting, called by the Yesha Council, included several settler demands. The council asked that the construction in the West Bank settlements be unfrozen, that Jewish communities in the West Bank be afforded conditions for a normal lifestyle and that certain security concerns be addressed.

Maoz Esther resident Avraham Sandak said 40 people had been living at the hilltop site northeast of Ramallah and they would start work immediately to replace the demolished buildings.

"We hope to sleep here tonight and we hope, with God's help, to rebuild it, not like before but bigger," he said.

Palestijnse Autoriteit verrast over uitgelekt vredesplan Obama

"The Palestinian position on these issues is very clear," explained another PA official. "We insist on the right of return for all refugees on the basis of United Nations resolution 194, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with all of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, as its capital."
The official said the PA had, in the past, rejected the idea of establishing a demilitarized state and swapping land with Israel.
Recht op terugkeer is onverenigbaar met een tweestatenoplossing. In Westerse media wordt vaak beweerd dat Abbas bereid zou zijn tot een compromis wat dit betreft, omdat Israel nooit met de komst van miljoenen nakomelingen van de vluchtelingen zal instemmen, die de staat immers totaal zouden ontwrichten. Ook wordt vaak ten onrechte beweerd dat de Palestijnen bereid zouden zijn tot een compromis wat betreft de oude stad van Jeruzalem, waarbij Israel controle over de Klaagmuur en de Joodse wijk kan houden. Idem voor een landruil van een paar procent, voor de grote blokken rond Jeruzalem. Op al deze punten zijn de Palestijnen dus buitengewoon inflexibel, en dat is consistent met het beleid van de PA. Zo bood Olmert Abbas vorig jaar een staat op bijna 100% van de Westoever, maar dit werd door Abbas resoluut van de hand gewezen.
De aangekondigde presentatie van Obama's vredesplan tijdens een speech in Cairo is overigens afgelast.

PA officials 'surprised by' US ME plan
May. 21, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Palestinian Authority officials said on Wednesday that they had been "surprised" to hear about US President Barack Obama's new peace plan from the Israeli media, noting that Washington had not informed the PA leadership about the initiative.

The officials said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington later this month, would seek clarifications from Obama about the peace plan published in Yediot Aharonot and Ma'ariv.

One PA official said Abbas and his aides were currently studying the plan, which, he added, included "several positive points." The official stressed, however, that some of the proposals mentioned in the plan were completely unacceptable to the Palestinians.

These proposals, he said, included the talk about resettling Palestinian refugees in Arab countries, swapping lands between the future Palestinian state and Israel, creating a demilitarized state and granting the Old City of Jerusalem the status of an international city.

"The Palestinian position on these issues is very clear," explained another PA official. "We insist on the right of return for all refugees on the basis of United Nations resolution 194, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with all of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, as its capital."

The official said the PA had, in the past, rejected the idea of establishing a demilitarized state and swapping land with Israel.

"The only way to achieve real and lasting peace is by forcing Israel to withdraw from all the territories that were occupied in 1967," he said.

Sabri Saydam, an adviser to Abbas, said that the plan published in the Israeli newspapers was apparently aimed at "creating confusion" on the eve of Abbas's visit to Washington. He said this was the first time that the Palestinians were hearing that the Obama administration wanted them to relinquish the right of return for the refugees and create a demilitarized state.

"We will wait until President Obama publishes his plan in a speech from Cairo next month," he said. "Until then, we will relate to all of what's published as media speculation."

PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to force it to accept the two-state solution.

Fayad did not comment directly on the reports about Obama's peace plan. However, he said the Palestinians were determined to establish their state on all the territories occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem, the future capital of the state.

Fayad, who chaired the first meeting of his new cabinet, said there would be no peace unless Israel halted settlement construction, stopped its efforts to Judaize Jerusalem, and lifted the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Obama zal in Cairo geen nieuw vredesplan presenteren

Nadat de hoofdlijnen van Obama's nieuwe vredesplan al in de kranten werden vermeld, zegt het Witte Huis dat hij geen vredesplan zal presenteren tijdens zijn speech in Cairo op 4 juni. Tot zover de waarde van al die mediarapporten en speculaties over vredesplannen en wat deze of gene leider 'eigenlijk' van plan is. Ondertussen zal er wel weer volop gespeculeerd worden over het waarom van deze beslissing.

End of Media Canards: No Obama Peace Plan in Cairo speech - none

Headline: Obama won't unveil Mideast peace plan in Cairo - That squashes a lot of speculation like a bug, no?  Either he never intended to unveil a plan, or it became clear that nobody at all would go along with the plan he intended to unveil. Here's the story:
The White House announced on Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama will not be presenting an American initiative for peace in the Middle East during his speech in Cairo on June 4, Israel Radio reported.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama's speech would address Washington's relationship with Muslims worldwide.
"This will be a broader speech about our relationship with Muslims around the world," said Gibbs at the daily press briefing. "I know there has been some conjecture that included in this speech will be some detailed comprehensive Mideast peace plan, and that is not the intention nor was it ever the intention of this speech."
Gibbs noted that Obama could not address the Muslim world without referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but added that the speech would not focus on it.
When asked about Obama's stance on Jerusalem, Gibbs said, "Those are final status issues that the parties themselves have agreed to work out in whatever negotiation would be had. That's not something for the President to intone."
Following Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, various media reports had speculated that Obama would unveil a new U.S. initiative for achieving peace in the Middle East as part of his upcoming speech meant to improve relations with the Muslim world.
American officials earlier this week had said that the U.S. expects Israel to make concrete concessions to the Palestinians before Obama's visit to Cairo.
Israeli security forces on Thursday morning evacuated the West Bank settlement outpost of Maoz Esther, in an apparent nod to diplomatic pressure exerted by the Obama administration.
Security forces hauled away seven metal containers converted to cabins during the evacuation. Several youths were at the camp but there was no violence, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.
Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both said that achieving peace in the Middle East would be a top priority for their administration. Both have stressed that they are committed to a two-state solution, with viable and secure Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side.

IDF doodt twee Palestijnse terroristen nabij Gaza hek

Israel verijdelt geregeld aanslagen en infiltratiepogingen vanuit de Gazastrook. Op de Westoever schieten Palestijnse politieagenten op Israelische soldaten omdat zij een bevel te stoppen negeerden.

IDF kills two Palestinian terrorists near Gaza fence
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies
Last update - 07:45 22/05/2009

Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed two Palestinian terrorists early Friday morning near the security fence along the Gaza-Israel border.

The pre-dawn incident occurred near the Kerem Hashalom crossing, as IDF troops observed the Palestinians approaching the fence with the intention of planting an explosive device. The soldiers then opened fire, killing both Palestinians. There were no injuries reported among the soldiers.

In addition to the explosives, a search of the bodies of the dead Palestinians turned up two AK-47 assault rifles and a number of grenades.

In recent months the IDF has successfully thwarted a number of such attempted terrorist attacks, particularly due to the heavy surveillance deployed around the Gaza Strip.

Inadvertent clash in West Bank

Palestinian police opened fire on IDF soldiers riding in an ice cream truck in the West Bank on Thursday, a Palestinian security source said. The shootout left two Israelis and a Palestinian wounded.

The overnight gunbattle appeared to be the latest instance of Israeli undercover forces clashing accidentally with increasingly active Western-backed PA security forces.

Israel's military command confirmed the soldiers were lightly wounded in the incident in Qalqilya, and said troops had arrested 26 Palestinian suspects in armed raids across the occupied territory early yesterday.

A senior Palestinian security source said police opened fire at the truck after it ignored orders to halt.

Israeli forces had not coordinated any military activity with the Palestinians, as they customarily do, the source said.

Palestijnse Autoriteit ontkent Joodse band met Jeruzalem

De Palestijnse Autoriteit heeft altijd de Joodse geschiedenis van en binding met Jeruzalem ontkend. De hoogste PA geestelijke, sheik Tamimi beweert bijvoorbeeld dat de Joodse tempel in Jeruzalem nooit heeft bestaan en dat de Joden pas in 1967 naar Jeruzalem kwamen.
Geregeld roepen Palestijnse leiders dat Israel de Al Aqsa Moskee wil vernietigen, en dit is in het verleden vaak gebruikt om de Palestijnen op te hitsen tegen Israel en de Joden in Palestina. De moefti Haj Amin Al Husseini gebruikte deze taktiek al in de jaren '20 van de vorige eeuw.

NGO: PA lying about Jews' ties to J'lem
May. 21, 2009
Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Palestinian Authority has unleashed an "unprecedented barrage of lies" negating Judaism's connection to Jerusalem, as part of a ongoing campaign to undermine the Jewish connection to the capital, an Israeli media watchdog group said on Thursday.
"Jerusalem is presented as a Muslim city, with no regard for historical reality," the Palestinian Media Watch report said. "Mention is made of the importance of Jerusalem for Christians, but Judaism has no place in the city."
The report, which was made public as Israel celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the reunification of the capital, cites top Muslim religious leaders in the city, ministers from the Fatah-run PA government in the West Bank as well as official Palestinian television denying any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Recently, Palestinian leaders have been defining all of Israel, and particularly Jerusalem, as land which Muslims have a religious obligation to hold on to, and which must be liberated for Islam, the report found.
In addition, the PA is continuing to pursue an "alarmist" campaign of "denunciation and demonization" by presenting as fact the "incendiary libel" that Israel is trying to destroy the Aksa Mosque as part of a "Judaization" of the city, the report said.
The report includes an array of recent, inflammatory Arabic-language quotes by senior Palestinian officials and religious leaders, translated into English.
"This indoctrination, repeated regularly by the PA leadership, is creating a passionate religious-based hatred among Palestinians that will blow up eventually into even more Palestinian violence," said Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch.

donderdag 21 mei 2009

Filmfestival Edinburgh zwicht voor pro-Palestijnse lobby

De haat voor Israel en de macht van Israel bashers neemt steeds grotere vormen aan. In Groot-Brittannië heeft het filmfestival van Edinburgh een donatie van - jawel - 300 pond teruggegeven aan de Israelische ambassade, na die aanvankelijk wel te hebben geaccepteerd. Het ging om de reiskosten van een Israelische filmmaakster, en haar film had niks met politiek of het conflict te maken. Na een georganiseerde campagne door een Schotse pro-Palestijnse groepering, met hulp van de beroemde regisseur Ken Loach, besloot het filmfestival tot deze actie. Het is walgelijk en gevaarlijk dat een festival zo makkelijk te beinvloeden is, en zwicht voor de boycotactie van een groep extremisten. Meer informatie en het adres van het fimfestival, zie hieronder. Laat je ongenoegen over deze zaak blijken en stuur een reactie!

The latest and most absurd demonstration of the power of the hate Israel Hamas groupie mob was demonstrated when the Edinburgh Film Festival (EIFF) succumbed to an orchestrated hate campaign of e-mails crowed by the intervention of the notorious Ken Loach. The EIFF returned a grant of £300 (300 Pounds) from the Israel embassy, which would have allowed an Israeli student to travel to Edinburgh and exhibit her film, which has nothing to do with the conflict.

In my heart, I suspect that the majority of decent people understand that the pro-Palestinian groups are conducting a vicious witch hunt, with the purpose of delegitimizing Israel. But the majority is silent and indifferent.

The EIFF reacted to Ken Loach's polemics with an amazing bit of prose indicative of moral bankruptcy:

"Although the festival is considered wholly cultural and apolitical, we consider the opinions of the film industry as a whole and, as such, accept that one film-maker's recent statement speaks on behalf of the film community, therefore we will be returning the funding issued by the Israeli embassy."

They accept that one film-maker's statement speaks on behalf of the film community! What if the film maker is Leni Riefenstahl? What if it is Mel Gibson, cussing out out the Jews when arrested for drunk driving? Why does Ken Loach represent the "film community?"

It's passed time to mobilize a grass roots movement to stop the Israel haters. Please, let's bombard EIFF with e-mails and snail mails and phone calls about their cowardly acquiescence in blackmail, and call upon them to reverse their decision.


Edinburgh International Film Festival
88 Lothian Road
Edinburgh EH3 9BZ
Scotland UK
telephone +44 (0)131 228 4051
fax +44 (0)131 229 5501

Below is an article that explains the background of this issue:

Film festival hands back Israeli cash after director Loach calls for boycott


ORGANISERS of the Edinburgh International Film Festival have been forced to return a donation from the Israeli embassy after director Ken Loach waded into the funding row and called for people to boycott the event on political grounds.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) threatened to picket screenings after the EIFF listed the Israeli embassy to the UK as one of its backers.

A donation – believed to be in the region of £300 – was to have been used to pay travel costs to the capital for Tali Shalom Ezer, a graduate of the film and television department at Tel Aviv University, who directed a short feature film, Surrogate.

SPSC, which campaigns in Scotland against Israel's attacks on Gaza, orchestrated a torrent of e-mail protests from people opposed to the move. But festival organisers refused to budge. EIFF managing director Ginnie Atkinson said not accepting support from one particular country "would set a dangerous precedent by politicising a cultural and artistic mission".

The SPSC then enlisted the support of Mr Loach, well known for his support of Palestinian human rights.

Mr Loach released a statement through the SPSC which read: "I'm sure many film-makers will be as horrified as I am to learn the Edinburgh International Film Festival is accepting money from Israel. The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable. With regret, I must urge all who might consider visiting the festival to show their support for the Palestinian nation and stay away."

The following day the EIFF – which has since been in talks with Mr Loach – did a U-turn. It said: "The EIFF are firm believers in free cultural exchange and do not wish to restrict film-makers' abilities to communicate artistically with international audiences on the basis that they come from a troubled regime.

"Although the festival is considered wholly cultural and apolitical, we consider the opinions of the film industry as a whole and, as such, accept that one film-maker's recent statement speaks on behalf of the film community, therefore we will be returning the funding issued by the Israeli embassy."

EIFF spokeswoman Emma McCorkell said yesterday she hoped Shalom Ezer would still attend the festival. Mr Loach did not respond to requests to contact The Scotsman yesterday. However, Ms McCorkell said he was "pleased."

"Although the festival is apolitical, we are going to succumb to political blackmail of the Palestinian lobby." Sounds like they are learning from another great film maker, George Orwell.

Here is a sample letter to give you ideas. Please do not send this letter with precisely this message, as "canned" messages are not effective.
Dear EIFF,

It is hard to believe that you surrendered your integrity and artistic principles to a political lynch mob led by a bigot, and gave in to the storm trooper tactics of terror groupies by joining a petty and absurd boycott of Israel. Your Orwellian statement speaks for itself:

"Although the festival is considered wholly cultural and apolitical, we consider the opinions of the film industry as a whole and, as such, accept that one film-maker's recent statement speaks on behalf of the film community, therefore we will be returning the funding issued by the Israeli embassy."

How could one person speak for an entire industry? One person who finds anti-Semitism "understandable?" And what if the one person was Leni Riefenstahl? And what if the "film industry as a whole" really thought it is right to support Hamas and damn Zionism, or that it is right to burn witches or expel the Jews, or the Catholics, would that make it right?

The dark days when political commissars controlled the content of cultural offerings are gone from Russia, and the darker days when Jews were boycotted in Germany are long past, but the evil of political manipulation of culture has been perpetuated by the EIFF. There is no possibility, in view of your actions and statements, that Tali Shalom Ezer's film would get fair treatment. What criteria will you use for judging if a country is worthy or unworthy? Will you refuse support or entries to China because of repression in Tibet? Will you refuse support or entries to any country other than Israel?

In totalitarian countries and societies, artists face the terrible choice of succumbing to political diktats or compromising their integrity. That is the sort of regime that exists in Gaza and Iran. But EIFF prostituted itself to politics of its own free will, without coercion. What if Ken Loach or some other popular maker takes up the cause of pedophiles, islamophobes or wife beaters next, will you bow to their wishes in order to curry favor with "the film industry?" You brought Gaza and the Khomeist regime to the UK. You have set a very dangerous precedent.

A politicized cultural event is no longer a cultural event worthy of the name. Your film festival itself deserves to be boycotted by decent people. Please reconsider and do the right thing. Keep politics out of culture.


Please forward this message and help us get the word out

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.


Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie toneel van Midden-Oosten conflict

Het is ook van de Israelische minister misschien wat kinderachtig om weg te lopen toen de Iraanse vertegenwoordiger een toespraak hield, maar alleszins begrijpelijk gezien het feit dat Iran geregeld oproept tot de vernietiging van Israel, de Holocaust ontkent, en Hamas en Hezbollah traint en financiert. Israel bedreigt de Arabische staten niet, en roept niet op tot hun vernietiging, noch zet het terroristische groeperingen op om in die landen aanslagen te plegen.
The tensions began when the Palestinian representative proposed the conference issue a statement condemning Israel. Litzman, who took the stage a short time later, used his speech to emphasize the medical aid Israel gives to the Palestinians, particularly in times of crisis
Zeer illustratief. De Palestijnen willen Israel veroordelen, terwijl Israel Palestijnen geneest. Per jaar worden tienduizenden Palestijnen in Israelische ziekenhuizen behandeld, soms geheel kostenloos. Welk ander land behandelt mensen waarmee het al decennia in een heftige strijd is verwikkeld?
Arab ministers walk out on Israeli speech at WHO conference

Geneva once again serves as stage for diplomatic strife as Arab representatives to World Health Organization conference leave hall in protest during Israel speech while Israel's rep walks out during Iran's turn
by Meital Yasur-Beit Or
Published: 05.19.09, 19:54,7340,L-3718468,00.html

Health ministers from around the world gathered in Geneva on Tuesday to take part in a conference held by the World Health Organization. But much like the anti-racism conference held just last month in the Swiss city, most of the focus was once again diverted from the agenda to political theatrics.

Deputy Health Minister, Ya'acov Litzman, was sent as Israel's representative to the WHO conference. However when the Iranian health minister rose to speak, Litzman left the hall in protest.

Litzman later returned, but when it was time for his speech several representatives from Arab nations echoed his earlier walkout.

The tensions began when the Palestinian representative proposed the conference issue a statement condemning Israel. Litzman, who took the stage a short time later, used his speech to emphasize the medical aid Israel gives to the Palestinians, particularly in times of crisis.

"We often find ourselves in a paradox when a terrorist and his victims are hospitalized one next to the other in Israeli hospitals and receive the same treatment," he said.

The deputy health minister called on other nations to invest more resources in medical research, and to prioritize these over investments in technologies that do not save lives.

The heated exchange between Israel and the Palestinians contradicts sharply with the rosy picture both sides tried to present earlier this month. With concerns over the swine flu pandemic at their peak, the Health Ministry announced it was cooperating closely with the Palestinian Authority and Arab nations to prevent the spread of the flu.

Obama plan voor gedemilitariseerde Palestijnse staat

Onderstaande is waarschijnlijk vooral speculatie, en het venijn zit hem waarschijnlijk in de staart: hoe en wanneer en onder welke voorwaarden moet deze Palestijnse staat worden gerealiseerd? Wat is een 'beperkt' recht op terugkeer? En houdt Israel ook rechten in de oude stad van Jeruzalem?

'Obama ME plan calls for demilitarized Palestinian state' Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Amid much speculation over US President Barack Obama's upcoming address to the Muslim world, reports published on Wednesday outlined the details of his plan for the Middle East.

The US president's initiative, which was formulated in consultation with Jordanian King Abdullah during the two leaders' recent meetings at the White House, reportedly does not significantly stray from the Pan-Arab peace initiative. Rather, it bolsters certain details within the Saudi-proposed plan.

The Obama-Abdullah plan was put together in response to concerns from both Israel and US that the Arab plan was too general and intransigent.

The initiative, which Obama is expected to present in his Cairo speech in three weeks, reportedly sets out conditions for a demilitarized Palestinian state, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The matter of borders will be solved by territorial exchanges between Israel and the Palestinians, and the Old City will be established as an international zone. The plan also allows for a limited Palestinian right of return.

Reports of the US president's new initiative surfaced as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was meeting with Obama in Washington earlier this week. During his visit, Obama emphasized his commitment to a two-state solution. Netanyahu reiterated his goal to live side-by-side with the Palestinians, though he did not specifically mention a two-state solution.

Bespreking Netanjahoe en Obama loopt uit

In dit artikel komen zowel Obama's als Netanjahoe's posities als redelijk en genuanceerd over. In De Pers en andere Nederlandse media werd Netanjahoe als de grote havik die niks van vrede moet hebben neergezet, en in De Pers werd de ontmoeting tussen beide leiders als koel en afstandelijk getypeerd, terwijl onderstaand artikel benadrukt dat ze veel langer met elkaar spraken dan gepland, wat als een goed teken wordt uitgelegd.

The Jerusalem Post
May 18, 2009 18:24 | Updated May 19, 2009 15:46
Netanyahu: US to present new plan

Following his highly-anticipated meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House, and after a 30-minute press conference, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a special briefing to Israeli reporters late Monday night, and told them that the president planned to formulate a new Middle East peace initiative which would be presented soon.

The prime minister termed the plan "interesting," and said that it would involve not just the Palestinians and Israelis, but also a number of moderate Arab states.

"I found that the president was very receptive to our position that as part of the peace process, Israel would not only give but receive," he said.

The premier expressed confidence that Israel maintained the right to defend itself from the threat of a nuclear Iran, telling reporters that there were no green, red or yellow lights from the US, but rather a shared sense that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapons capacity.

Speaking alongside Netanyahu at the Oval Office earlier in the day, Obama stressed the importance the US attached to Israeli security and its recognition of how the Jewish state perceives the threat from Teheran, even as he defended his policy of engagement.

Obama rejected the notion of "artificial timelines" in negotiations with Iran, which he indicated he expected would begin in earnest after the Iranian election on June 12 and could subsequently expand to include direct talks between Washington and the Islamic republic.

At the same time, he stressed that "we're not going to have talk forever" and allow Teheran to develop a nuclear weapon while negotiations go on, offering that "we'll probably be able to gauge and do a reassessment by the end of the year."

He also noted that "we are not foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions, in assuring that Iran understands that we are serious."

Israel has been pushing for a timeline on the United States's diplomatic efforts out of concern that Iran could use the talks to run out the clock. The notion of a timeline was just one subject where differences were expected to emerge between the two leaders as they sat down for their first meeting as respective heads of government in a visit deemed crucial for determining the contours of their relationship and personal rapport.

The policy differences were clear, with Obama emphasizing the importance of a "two-state solution" and an end to settlement growth even as Netanyahu made no reference to an independent Palestinian country. Instead, the prime minister spoke of the possibility of a "two peoples to live side by side in security and peace" if the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state and agreed to an end of conflict.

Both men positively described the encounter, which was repeatedly prolonged to give the two more time together; their one-on-one meeting lasted for an hour and 45 minutes.

Netanyahu declared a desire to restart negotiations with the Palestinians immediately, saying, "We don't want to govern the Palestinians. We want to live in peace with them. We want them to govern themselves, absent a handful of powers that could endanger the State of Israel."

He also noted that "there'll have to be compromises by Israelis and Palestinians alike. We're ready to do our share."

The talks, which Obama described as "extraordinarily productive" and Netanyahu called friendly, went on for much longer than the time the American president has usually devoted to foreign leaders this year. Israeli officials took this as a good sign.

Asked about reports in the media that Israel felt progress on Iran needed to be linked to progress with the Palestinians, Obama explicitly rejected the formulation, saying, "If there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way: To the extent that we can make peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with the potential Iranian threat."

But he added that both issues needed to be addressed independently on their own merits.

And Netanyahu, with Obama nodding along, said each issue could be helpful in reaching a positive conclusion on the other, but that there was no "policy linkage." Netanyahu also thanked Obama for his willingness to keep all options on the table when it comes to Iran.

And following the meeting with Obama, he told the Israeli media that he sensed a seriousness in the new American administration to push the Arab states to take meaningful steps toward peace with Israel that he had not seen before.

In his remarks to the press, Obama said "there is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution, [and] gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services."

He also said, "The other Arab states have to be more supportive and be bolder in seeking potential normalization with Israel."

But he cautioned Israel that it would have to make difficult steps, too, including improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and stressed that "there is a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements; that settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward."

Obama also said that the situation in Sderot was unacceptable, and that he'd seen the situation there himself. During that visit, during his electoral campaign over the summer, he first met with Netanyahu, though Monday was their first tete-a-tete as leaders of their respective countries.

Obama also noted it wasn't the first time Netanyahu had come to the White House as prime minister, perhaps warning him about the possible mistakes that could come from sour US-Israel relations such as those the prime minister once experienced with US president Bill Clinton in his bid to coax him toward the peace process.

"I'm confident that he's going to seize this moment and the United States is going to do everything we can to be constructive, effective partners in this process," Obama said of Netanyahu.
==== staff contributed to this report

Egypte arresteert verdachte ontvoering Shalit

Het lijkt wat vreemd dat Egypte, dat ondanks het vredesverdrag geen warme gevoelens koestert voor Israel, Israel wil helpen met het vinden van de kidnappers van Gilad Shalit. Egypte koestert echter nog minder warme gevoelens voor Hamas, dat ideologisch verwant is aan de Egyptische Moslim Broederschap.

The Jerusalem Post
May 18, 2009 22:01 | Updated May 19, 2009 10:49
Egypt has suspect in Schalit kidnapping

The Egyptian security services have arrested a Gazan university student in connection with the kidnapping of IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit, sources close to Hamas revealed on Monday.

The suspect, Ahmed Atta, 22, is the son of an Egyptian man and a Palestinian woman.

The father, Mahmoud, previously served as an imam and has been wanted by Egypt's General Intelligence Service for nearly a decade on suspicion of membership in a radical Islamic organization and plotting terrorist attacks against government institutions and foreign tourists in Egypt, the sources said.

The father is believed to have fled to the Gaza Strip when the Palestinians knocked down the security barrier along the border with Egypt for 11 days in January/February 2008.

Egyptian security officers initially arrested Ahmed Atta shortly after he and his mother, Aisha, crossed the border from the Gaza Strip into Egypt several weeks ago.
The mother has since been banned from leaving Egypt.

After being interrogated about the whereabouts of his father, the student was released from prison. But earlier this month he was re-arrested in connection with the case of Schalit and has been held in a security installation since.

The Egyptians believe that Ahmed Atta is linked in some way to the kidnappers of Schalit or that he knows where the soldier is being held, the sources told The Jerusalem Post.

The sources claimed that the student was not linked to the case of Schalit and said it was rather "strange" that the Egyptian security forces were making an effort to find out where the soldier was being held.

"This is not the first time that the Egyptians arrest Palestinians and question them about Schalit," they said. "We believe that the Egyptians are trying to help the Israelis find out where the soldier is being held."

The Egyptians have also questioned several Palestinians who fled from the Gaza Strip to Egypt about the movements and hiding places of senior Hamas officials, including Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and the secret locations where the movement is said to be storing weapons.

Palestinians who were wounded during Operation Cast Lead earlier this year and who were transferred to Egypt for medical treatment also reported that they were interrogated by intelligence officers about Schalit and Hamas's military capabilities. But this is the first time that the Egyptians have arrested a suspect in connection with the case of Schalit.

Egyptenaar die Israeli trouwt kan staatsburgerschap kwijtraken

Dit is te gek voor woorden. Een advocaat heeft een rechtszaak gewonnen die bepaalt dat een oude Egyptische wet moet worden uitgevoerd. Volgens deze wet verliezen Egyptenaren die met een Israeli getrouwd zijn, en hun kinderen het Egyptische staatsburgerschap.
In 2005, former Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasel issued a religious edict, or fatwa, saying Muslim Egyptians may not marry Israeli nationals, whether Arab Muslim or Christian. The possibility of a Jewish spouse was not mentioned.
Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's premier institution and oldest university, has said that while marriage between an Egyptian man and an Israeli woman is not religiously forbidden, the government has the right to strip the man of his citizenship for marrying a woman from an enemy state.
Het is sheik Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, voormalig grootmoefti Nasr Farid Wasel en advocaat Nabih el-Wahsh blijkbaar ontgaan dat Israel en Egypte in 1978 een vredesverdrag sloten dat nog steeds van kracht is.

Last update - 22:38 20/05/2009       
Egyptians married to Israelis may lose their citizenship
By The Associated Press
An Egyptian attorney on Tuesday won a lawsuit calling for the implementation of an old law stripping the citizenship from Egyptians married to Israelis, and from their children. It is not clear, however, if the ruling will be actually implemented.
The case underlines the deep animosity many Egyptians still hold toward Israelis, despite a peace treaty signed between the two countries 30 years ago.
The court's decision also scores a point for Egyptian hard-liners who have long resisted any improvement in ties with Israel since the signing of the 1979 peace treaty.
Lawyer Nabih el-Wahsh, who petitioned the court to implement a law pre-dating the treaty, said the ruling was a "triumph of Egyptian patriotism."
El-Wahsh had demanded the court force the Interior Ministry, which deals with citizenship documents, to implement the 1976 article of the citizenship law revoking the citizenship of Egyptians married Israelis who have served in the army or embrace Zionism as an ideology.
The court said the measures would avert potential damage to the country's national security, the state news agency reported, but it was unclear how the ruling could be enforced or how many Egyptians it would apply to.
El-Wahsh claimed there are about 30,000 Egyptians married to Israelis - whether Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs or Palestinians with Israeli passports - with possibly tens of thousands of children by now.
The Egyptian government has not released any figures. The Egyptian consulate in Israel said the issue was too sensitive to comment, while Israeli officials could not be reached for comment.
An Interior Ministry official in Cairo, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said Egypt doesn't have specific figures because most of the Egyptians in question actually live in Israel.
The official added that he believed el-Wahsh's numbers are exaggerated.
There is no indication that the Interior Ministry will adhere to the court's decision, but el-Wahsh said he would pursue the case and sue the interior minister for contempt of court if there was no action.
El-Wahsh has gained notoriety in Egypt for an incessant stream of law suits over morality and patriotism against movie directors, screenwriters and even Queen Elizabeth II and Saddam Hussein. Most were thrown out.
In 2005, former Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasel issued a religious edict, or fatwa, saying Muslim Egyptians may not marry Israeli nationals, whether Arab Muslim or Christian. The possibility of a Jewish spouse was not mentioned.
Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's premier institution and oldest university, has said that while marriage between an Egyptian man and an Israeli woman is not religiously forbidden, the government has the right to strip the man of his citizenship for marrying a woman from an enemy state.

woensdag 20 mei 2009

Alternative Information Center is geen vredesgroep

In de reisgids voor Israel van Lonely Planet staat het Alternative Information Center als een vredes- en informatiegroep genoemd en wordt aangeraden er een bezoek te brengen. Dat hebben we gedaan, en daar hadden ze onder andere boekjes van het Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), bekend van de radikaal-antizionistische uitspraken van hun leider Jeff Halper, waarin allemaal argumenten stonden om tegen Israel en het zionisme te gebruiken in discussies. Die boekjes waren gefinancierd door de Europese Unie, zo stond achterop  te lezen. Je zou er bijna voor thuisblijven op 4 juni, maar dat is natuurlijk niet de oplossing, hoewel links en pro-Israel stemmen wel tot de onmogelijkheden lijkt te horen. Tips zijn welkom.
Het Alternative Information Center, wordt, zoals Ami hieronder ook zegt, vaak gelinkt en genoemd als vredesorganisatie, maar dat zijn ze niet. Ze zijn tegen Israel, tegen zionisme, tegen vrede en tegen een tweestatenoplossing. De Palestijnen moeten doorvechten tot ze hebben gewonnen want het land is van hun, daar komt het op neer. 
Onlangs gebruikte Zembla ze als bron voor hun extreme anti-Israel uitzending over Gaza.

"Peace" Group Fighting Peace

The Alternative Information Center is funded as a "peace" group by European donors and is linked from "peace" Web sites. Their polemics about Israel are widely quoted in popular travel books, as if they are an objective or moral authority. It seems that they are for anything but peace. In a listing of NGOs for peace that I received, in which each provided information about it itself, Alternative Information Center listed itself as "anti-Zionist." We cannot imagine a group that lists itself as against Palestinian National Rights and declares it is against the right of the Palestinian people to self determination could be listed as a "peace" group. But as Zionism has been given a bad name, perhaps many will want to include such groups as "peace" groups, along with the boycotters and others.
But here is an op-ed from the Alternative Information Center, paid for with good European money no doubt, that blasts the Palestinian Panorama Center because they have joint projects with the Peres Peace Center. Here is the peace message of the Alternative Information Center:

One of the red lines established by the Palestinian national movement, and fully endorsed by all the Palestinian movements, parties and NGOs, was the unambiguous rejection of normalization with Israeli institutions, businesses and organizations. Normalization—Tatbiyeh, in Arabic—means collaboration with Israeli institutions aimed at creating the impression of normality, while the context remains one of Israeli military occupation and the depriving of fundamental rights for the Palestinian people. During the Oslo process, and even more so after its failure, tens of millions of dollars and euros were invested by the international community in order to create this false impression of normality, while occupation and its crimes continued and the colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories was growing like mushrooms after a rain. This orchestrated mystification plan was strongly rejected by the entire Palestinian society and its national bodies, and the few Palestinian individuals who dared to cross the line of normalization, were immediately called to order.

Of course, rejection of normalization did not mean the stopping of cooperation with Israeli organizations and movements that were involved in the struggle against occupation and colonization. In that struggle, Palestinians and Israeli anti-occupation forces have been united and will continue to be united.

The present weakness of the Palestinian movement and its internal division gives opportunities for US/European sponsored attempts to try today what failed 10 years ago, using huge sums of money to seduce Palestinian organizations to break the rules, and increase Palestinian disunity. This is how an organization like Panorama is ready to openly cooperate with an Israeli organization that, to say the least, in not at the forefront of the struggle for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The Peres Center for Peace is, as its name indicates, connected to Shimon Peres, who has been—until being elected President of the State of Israel—a central actor in the Israeli government. Throughout the past decades, Peres has been either Prime Minister or a cabinet minister in various occupation-governments. More recently, he was Deputy Prime Minister in the government that initiated and led the last aggression against Lebanon. You cannot be for peace and participate in a war/occupation government; or, more precisely, WE should unmask such hypocrisy and definitely not collaborate with it. It is politically unacceptable, and morally disgusting.

Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous. In order to break the boycott, organizations like the Peres Center are offering to Palestinian organizations large amounts of money, which, in the difficult days we are in, could tempt a few of them. The Palestinian civil society can be proud that the great majority of its organization cannot be bribed or corrupted!

This is the same sort of vicious propaganda as was published in Arabic by PACBI - the Palestinian Boycott group (see A program for wrecking Israeli-Palestinian Dialog ). Palestinians are to cooperate only with Israeli "useful idiots" who will do the bidding of extremist organizations. We can imaginage what would happen if Israeli "peace" groups issued similar guidelines, saying that Israeli NGOs must only cooperate with Palestinian groups that recognize the "god given right" of the Jewish people to sovereignty in "Judea and Samaria." Nobody would tolerate such behavior, would they?

Ami Isseroff


Netanjahoe stelt aanval op Iran nog even uit

Alle speculaties ten spijt, het gaat dus nog even duren, als Israel al aan zou vallen.
Ondertussen zouden Europese landen via een serieuze boycot van Iran de druk kunnen opvoeren en ervoor zorgen dat een eventuele aanval niet nodig is om het Iraanse nucleaire programma te stoppen.
Netanyahu commitment: No Iran attack until the end of this year
The report that US will reassess Iran policy in three months sounds a bit like someone's wishful thinking. If you thought the end of the world was coming real soon, you can relax. You have until the end of the year.
May. 19, 2009
During his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a commitment that Israel would not attack Iran at least until the end of the year and would not disturb Washington's plans for dialogue with Teheran over its nuclear program in any way, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.
Also according to the report, Obama said that in three months - not the previously reported six - he would reassess his attempts at dialogue with the Islamic republic.
The two sides decided to set up intimate US-Israeli strategic teams to coordinate moves vis a vis the Iranian issue, continued the report.
However, quoting a top Jerusalem official, Channel 10 said that Israel was concerned that after realizing that his attempts at dialogue with Iran had failed, Obama would refuse to acknowledge it, and that Israel would then be left alone to deal with the threat posed by Teheran and would need "to make a tough decision."
On the Middle East peace process, a top US source told Channel 2 that the matter of Netanyahu's position on a two-state solution was still being worked on and that the White House expected an Israeli response on the settlement issue within a month, before Obama unveils his new peace initiative.
Netanyahu reportedly told Obama he wasn't making a commitment to freeze settlements, saying it was impractical and politically impossible.
Channel 10 said Obama viewed West Bank settlements as a real obstacle to peace, and expected Israel to stop such construction immediately. According to the report, Washington did not see any way to kick start peace negotiations while settlement expansion continued.

Tegenstrijdige berichten over gezamelijke Fatah en Hamas troepen in Gaza

Nabil Shaath van Fatah zou volgens een Egyptisch persbureau gemeld hebben dat er een principe-overeenkomst is bereikt over een gemeenschappelijke veiligheidsmacht van Fatah en Hamas in de Gazastrook. Egypte heeft wellicht belang erbij om de onderhandelingen, die zich al maanden voortslepen zonder tastbaar resultaat, positiever voor te stellen, maar de Haaretz en ook Ma'an News spreken van een patstelling.
Zolang Hamas het doden van zoveel mogelijk Israeli's voorstaat en haar strategie daarop is gericht, kan een akkoord met Fatah niet tot een oplossing leiden maar zal het eerder de problemen verergeren. Zal die gezamelijke veiligheids troepenmacht, mede bewapend en getraind door de VS (dat immers Fatah troepen heeft getraind en bewapend), als dekmantel fungeren voor de ontwikkeling en smokkel van steeds beter wapentuig en Hamas' voorbereiding op een nieuwe ronde met Israel? Hoe kan dat worden voorkomen?

Hamas, Fatah discuss joint Gaza force staff and Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah were discussing a proposal on the formation of a joint security force in the Gaza Strip during reconciliation talks in Cairo on Monday.

Fatah official Nabil Shaath was quoted by the Egyptian news service MENA as saying that an agreement on the joint force had been reached "in principle," but that many details were yet to be worked out.

Shaath reportedly added that once the accord was finalized, Egyptian and Arab forces would be deployed to oversee the implementation of the deal.

If finalized, the agreement between Fatah and Hamas would represent a breakthrough in reconciliation talks between the factions that have been ongoing for months.

Hamas and Fatah have been bitterly divided since the violent ouster of Fatah loyalists by Hamas from the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians have informed the Palestinians of their intention to reopen the Rafah border crossing permanently after Hamas and Fatah reach an agreement on forming a unity government, a Fatah official, Azzam al-Ahmed, said.

"Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman informed us during a meeting with Hamas and Fatah representatives in Cairo last night that Egypt would begin real measures on the ground after the signing of the agreement to reopen the Rafah border crossing," Ahmed told reporters.

"He also stressed that Egypt would be in charge of renovating the border crossing."

The Rafah terminal has been closed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

The Fatah official quoted Suleiman as saying that Egypt has informed Israel and the US of its intention to reopen the terminal.

Fatah and Hamas delegates said that after the current round of talks in Cairo, they would meet again in the first week of July to pursue their efforts to form a unity government.

Nieuwe PA regering geinstalleerd op de Westoever

Premier Salam Fayyad heeft een nieuwe PA regering samengesteld, die -anders dan de voorgaande- voor de helft uit Fatah leden bestaat. Daarmee hoopt de regering meer invloed in de Westoever te kunnen uitoefenen, waar Fatah leden veel overheidsposities bekleden.


Last update - 20:28 19/05/2009
New PA government sworn in, still under Fatah control
By Reuters

Western-backed technocrat Salam Fayyad was sworn in as Palestinian prime minister on Tuesday at the head of a cabinet that now includes members of the president's long-dominant Fatah faction.

Fayyad, a former World Bank economist who has been premier in a caretaker role for the past two years, maintains effective control of security and finance, although Fatah members will replace political independents in some cabinet posts.

One analyst called it a "transitional" arrangement unlikely to make any major moves as long as Palestinian ranks remain deeply split. That is notably the case between the West Bank, where President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, holds sway, and the Gaza Strip, which is run by his Hamas Islamist rivals.

"The program of this government will be in harmony with the program approved by the previous government, trying to benefit from the expansion of the government in order to improve its capabilities to serve," Fayyad told reporters.

Control of security forces and spending are key portfolios in the Palestinian Authority administration in Ramallah, headed by Abbas, who unlike Hamas has engaged in peace negotiations with Israel with the goal of establishing a Palestinian state.

The government Abbas appointed administers an annual budget of some $3 billion, about half of it from the European Union and other donors. Establishing firm control of law and order in the West Bank, with the help of U.S. training, is a priority in meeting international conditions for progress toward statehood.

Members of Fatah will hold nearly half of 20 cabinet seats in Fayyad's new line-up, meeting their demand for a greater say. Some had complained that austerity measures imposed by Fayyad deprived many Fatah loyalists of public salaries and pensions.

In an embarrassment to Abbas and a sign of division within his own movement, Fatah lawmakers Issa Qaraqe and Rabiha Thiab refused at the last moment to take part because, they told the president, Fayyad did not consult them on forming the cabinet.

Fatah had been excluded from the government since Abbas appointed Fayyad in June 2007, in the wake of a brief civil war in Gaza. In March this year Fayyad tendered his resignation, a move some saw as a mark of frustration with challenges from Fatah. But Abbas persuaded him to stay on as interim premier.

Political analyst Basem Zubeidi of Birzeit University said the reshuffle was meant "to appease sectors within Fatah" and give more clout to a government that was "paralysed, with little legitimacy and a lot of resentment and many opponents".

The Palestinian Authority in effect now administers only the West Bank, home to 2.5 million Palestinians. The Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million live, is blockaded by Israel. Since June 2007 it has been under the control of Hamas.

The new government goes some way to bolstering the authority of Abbas 10 days before he meets U.S. President Barack Obama.

The cabinet line-up was agreed one day after a fresh round of reconciliation talks between the rival Palestinian factions ended in stalemate in Cairo. The Egyptian-mediated negotiation has been going on for months without showing concrete results.

"This is a transitional government," Zubeidi said.

The Palestinian internal rift has seriously undermined prospects for resuming stalled peace talks with Israel, which says it can only negotiate with one Palestinian leadership and will not negotiate with Hamas - unless it drops its commitment to armed resistance and agrees to recognize Israel.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in January 2006, ending a near-monopoly on power by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its dominant faction, Fatah. The government Hamas formed was hit by a crippling boycott and the unity team it later formed with Fatah lasted only a few months before the violence in Gaza split the two Palestinian territories.

dinsdag 19 mei 2009

Franse priester onderzoekt spontane pogroms in Holocaust Oekraine

In Oost-Europa, met name Rusland, verliep de Holocaust chaotischer dan in het westen, en is er minder over bekend. Joden werden lang niet allemaal naar concentratiekampen gedeporteerd, maar vaak in hun woonplaatsen vermoord. Sommige vrouwen werden eerst jarenlang misbruikt door Duitse soldaten. De lokale bevolking hielp vaak graag mee met 'de klus'. Het volgende is daarom des te opvallender:
Debois says easterners are more eager to talk about the Holocaust than westerners. "People in Ukraine want to talk. They wait on benches to be interviewed and filmed. They take us to grave sites, they welcome us into their homes - homes that used to belong to Jews," he says. "Imagine what would happen if I went around churches in Munich asking people if they helped kill Jews?"
Men schaamt zich er, ondanks de actievere steun en hulp van de bevolking, blijkbaar juist minder voor. Dat blijkt ook uit het feit dat zodra de interviewers te duidelijk afgrijzen met het vertelde tonen, men stopt met vertellen. Zijn team is zo succesvol omdat men een pokerface weet op te houden.
"If I react with shock, it's all over," he explains. "Often I don't react at all to what the witnesses say. I just give them an interested expression and ask very technical questions about where they stood, where the victims lay, the time of day. I keep them talking and it pours out."

French priest documents spontaneous pogroms in Ukraine Holocaust

The story of the documentation of the Holocaust is not over. As people dig, it becomes more and more horrible, not only because more deaths are documented. The investigations reveal that in many places, as in the Jedwabne Pogrom, the local non-Jews, not Germans or Nazis, were the perpetrators - civilians, neighbors and friends. The priest who is doing much of this work, deserves a great deal of credit. Yet on the other hand, it is sad that he is exceptional and that as he says:
 "A priest, a goy, a Catholic who does what I do.... I was afraid people would call me a fool,"
The world needs more such "fools."
Ami Isseroff
A horrific page of history unfolded last Monday in Ukraine. It concerned the gruesome and untold story of a spontaneous pogrom by local villagers against hundreds of Jews in a town south of Ternopil in 1941.
Not one, but five independent witnesses recounted the tale, recalling how they rushed to a German army camp, borrowed weapons and gunned down 500 Jews inside the town's Christian cemetery. One of them remembered decapitating bodies in front of the church.
The man heading the research that led to this discovery discussed it in Israel last week; Father Patrick Desbois was in Pope Benedict XVI's entourage.
Desbois is a French Roman Catholic priest. His team has been investigating mass executions in the former Soviet Union during the Holocaust for more than six years. In 2004, he founded Yahad-In Unum, a Paris-based organization devoted to Christian-Jewish understanding.
Oral testimonies from these events in Ukraine and Belarus are but a part of Desbois' research. Using metal detectors, his team uncovers German-made cartridges and bullets as well as victims' jewelry from killing pits. The findings are transferred to an archive in Paris, where the testimonies are translated.
Earlier this year, Desbois helped start the first Holocaust masters program at the Sorbonne, focusing on the extermination in the former Soviet Union.
To Desbois, there are two holocausts: a western one and an eastern one. The western holocaust was more organized, whereas the eastern one, "the one that happened away from Berlin," was chaotic, decentralized and undocumented.
"German officers wanted to appear efficient, so they documented one mass grave and declared the place judenfrei. In reality, the killings went on for years," he says. "The only way of documenting these [other] graves is asking the locals. Time's running out, and we're the only organization on the ground there."
The Ternopil story is not unusual because of its extreme cruelty but because it's so rare for perpetrators to openly admit playing a voluntary role. Most stories Desbois hears are from people who claim that the Germans forced them to take part in executions. "[Securing testimony from five participants in] a pogrom is a historic achievement," Desbois told Haaretz.
He notes how "we couldn't have achieved this a few years ago. We didn't have the skill." He says his team's success reflects the ability to keep a poker face.
"If I react with shock, it's all over," he explains. "Often I don't react at all to what the witnesses say. I just give them an interested expression and ask very technical questions about where they stood, where the victims lay, the time of day. I keep them talking and it pours out."
Desbois' full-time, nine-member team includes a cameraman who films the testimonies, while the others listen to stories of murder and human degradation.
But sometimes the poker face cracks, he says. For instance, when one woman described how her mother would "finish off" wounded Jews with a shovel blow to the head before burying them. "My team started to react, so I kept her talking, asking in a matter-of-fact way how exactly her mother would administer the blows."
Often with local help, the Germans killed nearly 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine after their invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Most of that history has gone untold. Unlike in Poland, where Jews were killed in death camps, in the Soviet Union most were mowed down and dumped into open mass graves in woodlands.
"I understand those who ask if Ukrainians and Poles were willing allies in the extermination of Jews," he says. "But I don't ask myself that, since most people I interview were children at the time. I'm only concerned with reconstructing the crime and knowing where the bodies are."
Desbois says one of his most surprising discoveries is institutionalized sexual slavery. In several interviews, he found witnesses who said German soldiers would set up houses in ghettos where they raped Jewish women. The Germans and their accomplices usually executed the women near the end of the war.
This discovery challenged perceptions that ideologically-motivated Germans would not sexually exploit a member of what the Nazis termed an inferior race.
Such accomplishments landed Desbois an honorary doctorate last week from Bar-Ilan University.
He says he arrives at a small town with five researchers and an interpreter. One approaches elderly people, who often lead the team to unmarked mass graves.
He began working in Ukraine in 2002, when he traveled to the village of Rava-Ruska. He went there in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather, who was deported to a prison camp for French soldiers.
Having researched the fate of French prisoners, Desbois discovered that 10,000 Jews had been killed at Rava-Ruska, but the town's mayor said he knew nothing.
So far, Desbois' organization has interviewed nearly 1,000 witnesses. His team has dug up mass graves only in one locale, at the request of the French Jewish community: "We do not uncover graves because of Jewish religious restrictions."
For the witnesses, the return to the killing ground is often the first time back in decades. "There, they recall more details," Desbois says. "Where the Germans stood, where this or that family was gunned down, a woman who couldn't walk and was dragged to the killing pit, or a woman who wouldn't take her clothes off."
Debois says easterners are more eager to talk about the Holocaust than westerners. "People in Ukraine want to talk. They wait on benches to be interviewed and filmed. They take us to grave sites, they welcome us into their homes - homes that used to belong to Jews," he says. "Imagine what would happen if I went around churches in Munich asking people if they helped kill Jews?"
Not another John Paul II
According to Father Patrick Desbois, the disappointment with the pope's speech at Yad Vashem - which officials at the memorial authority described as "lacking compassion" and "too general" - stems from a misunderstanding of the Holy See.
"People were expecting another Pope John Paul II. But Benedict is very different," Desbois says. After teaching mathematics as a French government employee in West Africa and working in Calcutta for three months with Mother Teresa, Desbois joined the priesthood. His secular family was horrified.
When he first began researching the extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union, he preferred to keep it a secret for a long time. "A priest, a goy, a Catholic who does what I do.... I was afraid people would call me a fool," he says.