zaterdag 10 mei 2008

Israël-boycotgroep krijgt toegang tot anti-racisme conferentie Durban II

Wordt de VN anti-racisme conferentie in 2009 - die wordt voorbereid door o.a. Iran en Libië - een herhaling van Durban in 2001? En moeten Joodse groepen de conferentie daarom uit protest boycotten? Of hebben VN en EU functionarissen gelijk wanneer zij zeggen dat men erop zal toezien dat het zover niet zal komen? Het feit dat een Canadese pro-Israël groep niet is toegelaten en een Palestijnse groep die voor een boycot van Israël pleit wel, is in ieder geval geen goed teken.

Pro-divestment group gains access to racism conference
Michael J. Jordan
Jewish activists say they want the 2009 World Conference Against Racism to be held on U.N. grounds, either in New York or Geneva (shown here), where there is tight security.

GENEVA (JTA) -- When Iran effectively blocked a Canadian pro-Israel group from joining preparations for a major anti-racism forum last week, it drew headlines. But it was the quiet accreditation of a Palestinian group that in the end raised more eyebrows.

With the 2009 World Conference Against Racism one year away, United Nations officials and Western diplomats have vowed to prevent a repeat of the 2001 forum in Durban, South Africa, which was dominated by aggressively pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs.

Canada, the United States and Israel already have expressed their doubts, however, indicating they will boycott the world's largest anti-racism forum in 2009, just as they boycotted the two-week "preparatory conference" in this Swiss city.

With questions still swirling around the location of next year's conference, how serious the discussions will be and if any other nations will join in boycotting the event, U.N. diplomats in Geneva last week supplied critics with more grist.

They accredited the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, an umbrella group that uses the controversial security barrier dividing Israel from parts of the West Bank as the hook to promote boycott, divestment and sanctions -- known as "BDS" -- against Israel.

Felice Gaer, the director of the American Jewish Committee's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, said the lack of resistance by the U.N. secretariat and Western nations over the accreditation was "baffling" and "inexplicable," given that in Durban, the then-U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, rejected any comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

"Misuse of the terms 'genocide' and 'apartheid' with reference to Israel" is a "big part of what discredited Durban," said Gaer, who was in Durban in 2001 and in Geneva last week at the preparatory conference.

Beyond the accreditation, preparations that were light on substance but heavy on process -- and marked by modest attendance and long lunch breaks -- hinted that while Israel likely will be targeted, it will not be the singular focus of 2009.

Rather, the Islamic world's cause celebre seems to be defamation of religion -- or blasphemy -- and other anti-Western jabs such as post 9/11 racial profiling, anti-terrorism measures and Islamophobia.

Meanwhile, African member-states and "African descendant" groups are using the forum to pursue their own beef with the West, renewing calls for reparations arising from slavery.

Still, the Middle East conflict reared its head in various forms last week, the least publicized of which was the accreditation of the anti-apartheid network.

One watchdog, Gerald Steinberg, the executive director of NGO Monitor, said he watched the U.N. session via Webcast from his base in Jerusalem and saw a rerun of 2001 unfolding.

"Once such a radical Palestinian group is let in, there's no longer hope for a civilized discussion of racism and discrimination," Steinberg said. "Then the only logical decision is to boycott the whole process, to discredit the 2009 conference so it doesn't carry the legitimacy that the 2001 event had."

Indeed, as the planned gathering approaches, the boycott question likely will continue to simmer among Jewish groups.

If last week's events in Geneva are any indication, the United Nations is taking some steps to avoid a "Durban II."

For example, whereas at the South African event anti-Israel, even anti-Jewish vitriol, spilled onto the streets -- sometimes beneath meeting tents -- it now seems all but certain that the 2009 gathering will be somewhere on U.N. grounds, probably Geneva or New York.

This is important, activists say, not only because of certain U.N. rules and protocol, but also because security would likely keep troublemakers out or intervene quickly if it erupts inside.

The other key component is that 2009 is unlikely to include a "NGO Forum" to run parallel with the intergovernmental meeting.

It was the NGO Forum in Durban that embraced the harshest anti-Israel language. But this time, with U.N. officials and Western nations apprehensive about an NGO reprise that would undermine the whole venture, funding for such a gathering reportedly is scarce.

"I'm not going to say there aren't going to problems, meaning I'm sure there will be bad language spoken -- anti-Israel, anti-Western, anti-U.S. -- yet that's nothing unusual, as it happens in the U.N. every day," said Suzette Bronkhorst, the director of projects at the Magenta Foundation, a Dutch anti-racism organization. "But it won't be nearly as bad as Durban."

Magenta, the Blaustein Institute, Human Rights First and 93 other civil-society signatories presented U.N. diplomats with five "core principles" last week, urging them to reject any effort to "foment hateful stereotyping in the name of human rights" and "uphold language and behavior that unites rather than divides."

Despite criticism, NGOs are still seen as a necessary dimension of the process.

For example, only some 39 U.N. member-states responded to a questionnaire describing their internal problems with racism or discrimination. One-quarter denied the existence of any sort of domestic discrimination, racial or otherwise, including countries explicitly criticized in the past, such as Iran.

"Like any addict, they refuse to admit they have a problem," said Anne Bayefsky, a Canadian law professor and U.N. critic.

During two weeks in Geneva, diplomats often seemed free to sing their country's praises. NGO voices, in contrast, could hold governments accountable for their words and actions.

While NGOs had their separate forum in Durban, this time they likely will be integrated within the governmental process. Presumably they will have to request permission to address the forum, as in other U.N. forums, and be limited to five minutes.

Shimon Samuels, the international liaison director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he approached the NGO groups present last week -- some historically hostile toward Israel -- to call on "our sister anti-racist organizations to protest with us any hijacking or agitations" at the event.

Asked by JTA if he expects these organizations to heed his call, Samuels replied, "I don't think they will." He said he expects the Jewish state to again be the target of "demonization and delegitimization" in 2009.

Still, Samuels said he wouldn't boycott the event.

"If you abandon the battlefield," he said, "you leave a vacuum to be filled by your enemies."

As preparations continue, in particular ironing out the "substance" of the 2009 event, the attention now turns to the Europeans to see where, or if, they draw a line.

A Slovenian diplomat speaking on behalf of the European Union had warned of the "unacceptable anti-Semitism" at Durban, "excessive polarization" and "singling out" a "specific geographic situation."

Yet the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign was accepted without comment.

"The E.U. has some internal documents," one Western diplomat told JTA earlier in the week, "and our red lines are very clearly defined."


Hamas gijzelt de burgerbevolking van de Gaza Strook

De oorzaak van de humanitaire crisis in Gaza: Hamas heeft door herhaalde aanvallen op de grensovergangen de transfer van voedsel en andere hulp verhinderd, en bovendien grote hoeveelheden brandstof gestolen voor eigen gebruik, zoals ook Palestijnse bronnen bevestigen. Bovendien bepaalt Hamas hoe hulp wordt verdeeld. Uiteraard blijft iedereen Israël de schuld geven van de crisis, van de gedwongen stopzetting van hulp door de VN, en van de gevolgen voor de burgerbevolking. En dat is uiteraard precies wat Hamas wil.

Behind the Headlines: Hamas holding civilian population in Gaza hostage.
7 May 2008 Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By seizing the fuel, food, and medical supplies that Israel is transferring to the Gaza Strip, and using the supplies itself, the Hamas terror organization is basically holding the civilian population of Gaza hostage.

Israel has continued to supply fuel, food, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, despite Hamas attacks precisely on those crossings Israel must use to transfer the supplies.

It is apparent that Hamas is targeting the crossings in order to prevent the transfer of humanitarian aid to the civilian population, thus both needlessly depriving its own population as well as causing an artificial humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Clearly, Hamas wants to create a crisis in order that international pressure will be placed on Israel.

Recent reports indicate that not only is Hamas depriving the civilization population, it is allocating the supplies for its own use.

Hamas steal fuel from the civilian population

A Jerusalem Post report, on the 29th of April, states that Hamas stole 60,000 liters of fuel from the civilian population of Gaza. This was confirmed by the head of the Palestinian Authority's gas agency, who added that Hamas gunmen had raided the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, stealing at least 60,000 liters of fuel meant for the Gaza power station, for use in their own vehicles.

The London Independent
reports on the artificial crisis caused by Hamas, which even caused the UN to suspend food aid to 650,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip after running out of fuel for its delivery vehicles. An emergency tanker sent to the Nahal Oz terminal was turned back by demonstrators, and was forced to return empty. EU condemns Hamas actions which lead to further suffering of the Palestinian population

On 24 April, the Presidency of the EU
stated that Hamas activities were obstructing and even preventing humanitarian work by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Hamas nationalizing fuel supplies meant for the civilian population

In another report, Nissim Keinan of Israel's Second Radio channel reported on 4 May that Hamas was in fact holding the civilian population hostage. He stated that Hamas has nationalized all the fuel supplies transferred by Israel for the civilian population, and for operation of the electricity plant, and is using it solely for its own purposes. In addition, food sent by the donor countries is allocated in accordance with Hamas instructions. Of the thousands of tons of grains, food and fuel that were transferred, none was able to reach the civilian population.

Hezbollah heeft west Beiroet onder controle

Jumblatt said: "I did not anticipate such a strong response from Hezbollah, but ... yes ... the group is much stronger than other armed militias."

He also said: "If you want to know what the next move for Hezbollah will be, ask [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad [the Iranian president]. This situation goes beyond Lebanese borders."

Hezbollah doet niks zonder Iraanse toestemming. Als Iran zijn zin krijgt wordt Libanon een shiitische theocratie en vazalstaat van Iran.

En laten we ophouden met verbaasd te doen over hoe sterk en agressief Hezbollah is. Dat moge inmiddels duidelijk zijn. Als niemand ze iets in de weg legt, als UNIFIL een wassen neus is, het centrale gezag in Libanon zwak en verdeeld, terwijl zowel Iran als Syrië wel weten wat ze willen en Hezbollah tot de tanden toe hebben bewapend, dan mag wat nu gebeurt eigenlijk niet verbazen.


Hezbollah in control of west Beirut
At least 11 people have been killed since fighting erupted in Beirut since Wednesday [Reuters]
Clashes have again erupted on the streets of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, as Hezbollah takes control of large areas of the capital from groups loyal to the government following gun battles.

The building of Future TV network, owned by Saad Hariri, a prominent pro-government politician, was set alight in continued violence on Friday.
The street battles, which first erupted on Wednesday, have so far left at least 11 people dead and 20 others wounded.

Lebanese troops began taking up positions in some neighbourhoods in west Beirut abandoned by the pro-government groups.
The army has largely avoided getting involved in the street battles amid fears of being dragged into the conflict.

According to an opposition official, roadblocks will not be lifted around Beirut and the international airport until the government rescinds its measures against Hezbollah and sits down for a national dialogue.
Earlier in the day, a rocket-propelled grenade struck the fence of the heavily protected residence of Saad Hariri in the suburb of Koreitem, a Muslim area of western Beirut.
Hariri, leader of the Future bloc, the biggest party in Lebanon's governing coalition, was believed to be inside at the time but unhurt.
Earlier, armed men loyal to Hezbollah forced Future News, the news channel of the Future media group, off the air in Beirut.

"Gunmen surrounded the building, stormed into the garage and demanded that the army shut down the station," a senior TV official said.

Future group targeted

Security sources said Hezbollah and fighters from the allied Amal movement - both Shia groups - had overrun offices of Hariri's Future conglomerate across the predominantly Muslim western half of the Lebanese capital.

The headquarters of the Future media group's Al-Mustaqbal daily was also surrounded by fighters firing rocket-propelled grenades, setting fire to one floor, its managing editor said.

Nadim Munla, the general manager of Future TV, told Al Jazeera that masked armed men entered the control rooms and cut off the cables.

"We have been effectively prevented from broadcasting and doing our jobs as media professionals," he said.

"Hezbollah ... have proven that the gun is stronger than the value of the opinion. We have only one thing left - free speech, and their guns will not silence us."

Lebanese troops evacuated the staff of the TV station's terrestrial and satellite studios in the Kantari area of western Beirut.

Meanwhile, in a statement seen as politically significant, Michel Aoun, a Christian leader allied with the Hezbollah-led opposition, has said that normalcy should be restored on the streets.

"The derailed carriage is now back on track. We hope from this point that things will fall back into the normal course [of events]," he said on Friday.

Aoun said that he had sent a letter to Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, and various member states of the UN Security Council, but "did not find a clear response to avert the crisis".  

Later, Amin Gemayel, leader of the pro-government Kataeb Party, the mainly Maronite Christian party, urged Christians to stay away from the fighting.

He accused Hezbollah of staging a coup.

Saudi pressure


Reports have also emerged that the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon advised Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, to step down.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said: "This is a significant move considering that the Saudi government is a staunch supporter of the ruling coalition in Beirut.

"The Saudis see this as a dangerous situation that can escalate rapidly."

 Opposition fighters took rapid control of
many suburbs of Lebanon's capital [AFP]

In an exclusive interview to Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party and and leader of Lebanon's Druze community, said that he did not regret his backing for the removal of the head of security of Beirut airport, whom the government accused of being too close to Hezbollah.

"Jumblatt did not anticipate such a strong response from Hezbollah, and he is resigned to the fact that the group is much stronger than other armed militias," Amin said.

"He said that the government should have undertaken these moves earlier, but predicts that the fighting will end soon."

Jumblatt said: "I did not anticipate such a strong response from Hezbollah, but ... yes ... the group is much stronger than other armed militias."

He also said: "If you want to know what the next move for Hezbollah will be, ask [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad [the Iranian president]. This situation goes beyond Lebanese borders."

Hezbollah control

In several neighbourhoods across the capital, automatic rifle fire could be heard in the worst domestic fighting since the 1975-90 civil war.

Hezbollah also took control of all roads leading to Beirut's international airport, Lebanon's only air link to the outside world.

Lebanese troops took control of several west
Beirut suburbs from opposition fighters [AFP]
According to Elie Zakhour, a port official, Beirut's sea port was also shut down "until further notice" because of the situation, Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported.

Tension between the government and Hezbollah escalated when the cabinet said the group's private phone network was illegal and an attack on the country's sovereignty.

Hezbollah said it was infuriated by government allegations it was spying on Beirut airport and by the cabinet's decision to fire the head of airport security.

The fighting has prompted urgent appeals for calm from the international community.

Meeting sought

Saudi Arabia and Egypt called for an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers to try to halt the violence.

"An emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss the crisis will be held in two days," Hossam Zaki, the Egyptian foreign ministery spokesman, said.

The UN Security Council also called for "calm and restraint", urging all sides to return to peaceful dialogue.

Syria said the dispute in Lebanon was an "internal affair" and expressed hope the feuding parties would find a solution through dialogue.


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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Syrië niet bereid banden met Iran, Hamas of Hezbollah te verbreken voor vrede met Israël

Tot zover de droom dat vrede met Syrië wellicht mogelijk zou zijn, en het opgave van de Golan waard is omdat zo een einde kan komen aan haar steun voor Hezbollah en Hamas, en haar banden met Iran. Als Syrië Hezbollah en Hamas legitieme organisaties vindt die slechts hun land (welk land??) verdedigen, dan is er helaas niks meer om over te praten dunkt me.
De duiven en dromers zijn weer een illusie armer, en de Joden die op de Golan wonen hoeven zich geen zorgen meer te maken.


'We won't cut Iran or Hizbullah ties'

Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected Israel's demand that Syria cut its ties with Iran and Hizbullah.

He said that detaching his country from the two was "irrelevant" to reviving peace talks.

In an interview published Friday with the Italian magazine L'Espresso, Assad went on to emphasize that his country was offering peace in return for the Golan Heights - captured from Syria in 1967 and then again in 1973 after recurrent Syrian cross-border attacks.

The Syrian president said it would be possible to advance the peace process when the new US president was elected.

Syria maintains ties with both Hizbullah and Iran, an extremist Shi'ite terror organization and a dominantly-Shi'ite state respectively, which both seek Israel's destruction.

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Original article in Italian

Question: And if, to agree peace, Israel will ask for no more support for Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations placed by the Americans in the black book of terrorism, and to break with Iran?

Reply: "It would be an absurd claim and would not advance peace. How would Israel react if we asked them to break their relations with the United States? Negotiations must develop in respect of full reciprocity. Syria remains firmly convinced that neither Hamas nor Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. For the simple reason that not kill civilians.  These are movements that defend their land. As to Iran, the answer is even more obvious. It is one of our old allies.
Translation by Google ]

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

vrijdag 9 mei 2008

Auto in brand gestoken van Bedoeinenvrouw die fakkel Onafhankelijkheidsdag ontstak

Verzoening en vreedzaam samenleven is mogelijk, maar er is nog een lange weg te gaan.
Sana Elbaz, een moedige Bedoeinenvrouw, geeft het lichtend voorbeeld.


Car of Bedouin woman who lit Independence Day torch set on fire

Bedouin lighter of 60th anniversary torch suffers ironic twist of fate as her car is torched by unknown persons. Celebratory torch and car torching connected, husband says

Yonat Atlas

Ynet News - Published:  05.09.08, 10:34

Sana Elbaz, the daughter of a Bedouin family from Tel Sheva who lit a celebratory torch at Israel's 60th anniversary ceremony in Jerusalem, saw her car set ablaze by unknown persons outside of her house on Thursday night. A molotov cocktail was also thrown at her door, but her house remained undamaged.

Elbaz was watching TV late on Thursday when she heard the sound of glass breaking outside of her home. She alerted her neighbors, who helped to put out her blazing car, and called the police and her husband.

"The first thing that had crossed my mind when I heard my car being torched was that someone was taking revenge on me for participating in the ceremony," Elbaz told Ynet. "These are cowards. We are a part of this country and so shall we stay," she said.

"I knew I would be receiving unsympathetic responses, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly. I guess someone wanted to light a torch of their own," she added with a smile.

Sana Elbaz heads the first of its kind daycare center in the Bedouin sector, and was responsible for a revolutionary educational program that is said to have brought about great changes in Bedouin society.

Her husband Khalil told Ynet: "I have no doubt that the molotov cocktails thrown at my car and my home were because Sana lit the torch on Independence Day. Even before the event there was denouncing talk about the torch and it looks like today someone has acted upon it.

Sana and Khalil Elbaz outside their home. (Photo: Herzel Yosef)

"We are a very well-known family in the community, and until Independence Day we were never threatened, I guess some people are bothered by it. I am a man who knows his people well and so I realize how many are opposed to participation in such an official ceremony."

Khalil added that despite the torching he and his wife are proud that Sana was asked to light the torch. "We are strong and fear nothing," he said. "They won't break us. Sana is a leading woman in education and she deserves the esteem she is receiving from the country."

The police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Israël na zestig jaar: het recht om te bestaan

De 'éénstatenoplossing' duikt geregeld op als alternatief voor de tweestatenoplossing, die vanwege de afscheidingsbarriere en de nederzettingen onmogelijk zou zijn geworden. Dat is uiteraard onzin, zoals de ontruiming van Gaza en meer dan 25 jaar geleden van de Sinai (ja, daar waren ook Joodse nederzettingen) laten zien. Bovendien wonen driekwart van de kolonisten op circa 5% van de Westelijke Jordaanoever, dus kun je met grenscorrecties en landruil het aantal te evacueren kolonisten beperken.
Een pleidooi voor een eenstatenoplossing is een mooie manier om te zeggen dat je tegen Israëls bestaansrecht bent en vindt dat Israël moet ophouden te bestaan. Zoiets als voorstellen dat wij ook wel met Duitsland samen kunnen gaan, we lijken immers op elkaar en spreken bijna dezelfde taal, en zijn economisch erg afhankelijk van de grote buur, nietwaar? Toen de woensdag overleden PvdA-er Thijs Wöltgens dit eens voorstelde, werd hij weggehoond.
Vanavond op Netwerk spraken zowel Dries van Agt als de Nederlandse Palestijn El Fassed zich voor een dergelijke prachtstaat uit.

Israel at Sixty: The Right to Exist

It's no secret that advocates of the two-state solution are worried that the prospects for such an outcome are being eroded - as the LA Times piece makes abundantly clear, with quotes from, among others, Yasser Abed Rabbo and Condoleeza Rice.

However, to argue that there needs to be a renewed effort in underscoring the credibility of a two-state solution is one thing; to ditch it in favor of the "one-state" option is something else entirely.

Here is the nub of the problem with the LA Times piece. If this article was your first exposure to the "one-state" idea, you would come away thinking that it's eminently reasonable. That rather than being the preserve of genocidaires and antisemites like the Iranian theocrats, Hamas and Hezbollah, the "one-state solution" truly belongs to visionary democrats.

In the abstract, there is, of course, nothing wrong with states pooling their sovereignty or even merging with each other. Indeed, a principle rather like this has driven Europe's political development since the Second World War. Israel, moreover, offers a democratic beacon in a region blighted by tyranny, corruption and reactionary ideas. In the LA Times piece, Sari Nusseibeh suggests "that many Palestinians would feel more at home in a democracy shared with Israelis than in a Palestinian state run by Hamas."

Nusseibeh qualifies this statement by insisting that such an arrangement would need "to come about by consent." But it is nigh impossible to imagine any circumstances whereby such a proposal would secure the agreement of Israelis.

To begin with, it would mean abandoning the ideal of a Jewish state. Someone like Tony Judt would argue that there is no cost in abandoning an "anachronism"; I would respond that there is nothing anachronistic about Israel. if the European Union is the model for the one-staters, they would do well to remember that the member states of the EU are precisely that - member states. These states have not been asked to abandon their independence and their identity, nor have they been compelled to do so. Conversely, Israel is not being asked to join a regional community of states; it is being told to dissolve itself, and to do so in a neighborhood which exhorts the slogan "Kill the Jews!" with alarming frequency.

Moreover, those who would demand that Israel dissolve itself are hardly duplicating the notion of equal legitimacy which underlies the EU. To the contrary, they regard Israel as a colonial usurper, born in "original sin" - a citadel of "neo-Jews', in the words of a recent inchoate rant published on the one-statist website, Counterpunch.

For such people, a single state is an opportunity for Israeli Jews to atone for the historic crime of forming their own state, rather than an instrument for them to live with their neighbours as equals.

What the LA Times piece inadvertantly demonstrates is that it is ideology, rather than concerns about viability, contiguity, resources, open border policies and so forth, which primarily drives the one-staters. Prominently featured in the article is Hazem Kawasmi, a former Palestinian Authority official who is now busily researching the implementation of the one-state formula, having abandoned two states.

Why did Kawasmi give up on the two-state solution? Because the Israeli peace activists he met with "…dismissed two cherished Palestinian aspirations. Like Olmert's government, they wanted to avoid talk of giving Palestinian refugees and their families the right of return to homes in Israel that they fled in 1948 or of sharing Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state…At that moment, Kawasmi said, he realized 'there is zero chance' for a two-state solution. He didn't sleep well for months. Then he embraced the single-state option, which had been debated for several years among Palestinians living abroad, and set out to create a buzz for it in the territories."

Given that the "right of return" is code for the elimination of Israel, it's debatable whether Kawasmi actually supported the two-state solution in the first place. And what is fanciful is Kawasmi's claim, made elsewhere in the piece, that by throwing their lot in with one-staters like him, the Jews of Israel will be spared the inevitable wrath of the Islamists. Sad to say, but imperative to repeat: Islamism, and its integral antisemitism, is not going to disappear overnight.

In addition, when Kawasmi talks about Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities living with equal rights, what does that mean, exactly? That Jews in Israel will cease to be a nation and become just a religion? That schools in the single state will teach the crimes of Zionism in the history curriculum? That the descendant of an Arab resident of Jaffa in 1948 takes priority over a Jew who is resident there now? None of this has been thought through - and yet Israelis, who listen to blood curdling rhetoric echoing around their region every day, are supposed to be comforted by a glib formula which views their national project as inherently illegitimate.

So let's not seduced by the talk of a "one-state solution." At best, it threatens a repeat of Iraq or Lebanon, at worst it is a prescription for genocide.


donderdag 8 mei 2008

Achmadinejad noemt Israël een 'stinkend lijk'

Gretta Duisenberg ontkende gisteren in Nova dat Achmadinejad Israël wil vernietigen. Ook Hamas zou de beste bedoelingen met de Joodse staat hebben.
Zie hieronder Achmadinejads warme gevoelens voor dit land.


Ahmadinejad calls Zionist regime a 'stinking corpse'
Tehran, May 8, IRNA - Iran news agency

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Thursday labeled the Zionist regime as a "stinking corpse" and said those who think they can revive the corpse of this fabricated and usurper regime are in mistaken.

Lambasting the 60th anniversary of establishment of the Zionist regime, he said those who attend such a shameful ceremony should bear in their mind that their names will be listed as Zionist criminals.

Addressing Majlis representatives, he said the philosophy of existence of the Zionist regime is now under question and the usurper and fabricated regime is moving towards annihilation.

The Zionist regime is a puppet for bullying powers, he said adding that the global arrogance established the Zionist regime 60 years ago in Palestine to continue its historical straggles with the Muslim world but after the Lebanese nation slapped it in the face, they are like dead rats.

"If any regional countries assist the Zionist regime, they will burn in fire arising from nations' hatred," said the president.

"If some think that they can make any change in the global calculations, they are in mistaken because nations around the world will bury them ," concluded President Ahmadinejad.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Linkse Duitsers verklaren solidariteit met Israël

Verfrissend, in een zee van linkse partijen in Europa die al jaren te hoop lopen tegen Israël...
Wie volgt: Halsema, Marijnissen, Livingstone?

German Leftists Declare Solidarity with Israel

Elif Kayi, Z Word's European press reviewer, reports on Gregor Gysi's declaration of solidarity with Israel.

There is a common perception that the European left is uniformly hostile to Israel. In that respect, Germany appears to have bucked the trend.

Last week, Gregor Gysi, who jointly heads the party Linkspartei with Oskar Lafontaine, delivered a speech about Israel that was, by the prevailing standards of the European left, quite startling. Speaking at a conference organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Gysi warmly congratulated Israel on its 60th anniversary and called on his party to "show solidarity" with the Jewish state.

Critically, Gysi defined such solidarity as an integral part of Germany's "raison d'etat." In so doing, Gysi harshly criticized the historic position of the PDS - the direct descendant of the communist party which ran the totalitarian East German state and now one of the constituent elements of Linkspartei - for its faithful reflection of Moscow's line of implacable hostility towards Israel.

"The leadership of the DDR (German Democratic Republic) did not only lack understanding of Israel's security interests," said Gysi. "It also did not understand the specific responsibility towards Jews that emerged from the eternal warning of the Shoah." Gysi also counselled against classic left-wing anti-Zionism. "The concept of imperialism does not apply to Israel," he said. Israeli democracy, he added, "is a really great achievement, that deserves admiration."

In an op-ed published in the daily Tageszeitung, journalist Stefan Reinecke described the importance of Gysi''s speech: "Maybe more important than the criticism of the traditional leftist opposition to Israel is the commitment to the raison d'etat itself. This is a concept Linkspartei…have always avoided. Gysi interprets this concept not as authoritarian, but as rational - and the course is clear. If the party recognizes Israel as part of the German raison d'etat, it shows that it has finally accepted the western value system."

An editorial published in the daily Tagesspiegel also underscored the significance of the speech: "The speech…brings to an end a chapter in the party's history: its often unclear position on the terror of extremist Palestinians. Not so long ago, during a visit in Teheran, Oskar Lafontaine tried to curry favour with the rulers of Iran, who are hostile to Israel. Hopefully, Gysi has set standards within his party that Lafontaine cannot pretend to ignore."

The head of the German Young Socialists (JuSo), Franziska Drohsel, also warned against antisemitism from the left and denounced the identification of some leftist groups with the Islamists: "The goals of the Islamist organizations are not compatible with the leftist concept of emancipation… Antisemitism is evil and has to be fought against, no matter who expresses and defends it".


Na 60 jaar nog steeds dezelfde oorlog - Benny Morris

Benny Morris over Israëls Onafhankelijkheidsoorlog. Een ander verhaal dan wat velen van Morris zouden verwachten. Een verhaal dat verrassend verfrissend afsteekt bij de stroom aan anti-Israël publicaties van de laatste jaren.

"1948 has haunted, and still haunts, the Arab world on the deepest levels of the collective identity, ego and pride. The war was a humiliation from which that world has yet to recover," Morris writes.

Despite peace process and some treaties, he understands that still "the Arab world — the man in the street, the intellectual in his perch, the soldier in his dugout — refused to recognize or accept what had come to pass. It was a cosmic injustice."

Still Fighting the Same War

By Jonathan Tobin

'Revisionist' historian's '1948' places current and past conflicts in perspective

  In the course of a lengthy essay in The Atlantic, writer Jeffrey Goldberg quotes an encounter he had with a Gazan imam named Ibrahim Mudeiris, who had just delivered a sermon in which he had described the Jews as "the sons of apes and pigs."

Mudeiris summed up the current standoff between Israel and the Hamas movement which currently runs Gaza by saying, "It does not matter what the Jews do. We will not let them have peace."

He went on to describe the futility with which generations of Israelis have sought to deal with the Palestinians succinctly: "They can be nice to us or they can kill us, it doesn't matter. If we have a cease-fire with the Jews, it is only so that we can prepare ourselves for the final battle."

What can the Israelis do when faced with such intransigence?


Goldberg's lengthy and disquieting ruminations on this question provide no easy answers, but the question in the title of the piece, "Is Israel Finished?" provides the decided noncelebratory feel to a piece published to coincide with Israel's 60th birthday.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert comes across in Goldberg's story as a petulant, defensive figure who is clearly uncomfortable being in the cross-hairs of vocal critics like novelist David Grossman, who lost a son during the prime minister's disastrous Lebanon war. It is also hard to argue with Goldberg's contention that "he is not Israel's deepest thinker."

But you have to sympathize with Olmert during the course of his interview when he expresses impatience with Goldberg's focus on the "flaws in the execution of the Zionist program." Speaking of Israel's many achievements, he begs for a bit of historical perspective.

And for that, readers can do no better than to go to a new authoritative source about the beginnings of the Israeli state, Benny Morris' "1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli Wars." Those who do will be left with the inescapable conclusion that there is nothing new about Olmert's dilemma.

Morris is the most famous and certainly the best of the so-called "new historians," who rose up in the 1980s to question the romantic view of Zionism that had heretofore prevailed in Jewish history writing.

The author's diligent digging in the state's archives has resulted in some work that has outraged many Israelis. But no nation's history is that one-sided.

Some Jews speak as if Israel's right to exist is called into question unless all Israelis were and are without a blemish, though that is a notion that is nonsensical in itself and a reflection of a legacy of anti-Semitic delegimitization of Jews.

As such, there will be readers of 1948 who will howl with outrage at Morris' acknowledgement of the fact that there were some atrocities committed by Israelis during the course of their bloody War of Independence.

Others will be uncomfortable with his presentation of the fact that, at certain points of the conflict, the Israelis outgunned the Arabs, even though the few hundred thousand Jews in the country were outnumbered by the tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims in the region who opposed them.

But the general thrust of the narrative is inescapable.

War was inevitable, not because the Zionists were imperfect or wanted of a larger Jewish state than the truncated province offered them in the various partition plans, but because the Arabs never once considered making peace with the Jews on any terms.

"The 1948 war, from the Arabs' perspective, was a war of religion as much as, if not more than a nationalist war over territory," Morris writes. "Put another way, the territory was sacred its violation by infidels [Jews] was sufficient grounds for launching a holy war and its conquest or reconquest, a divinely ordained necessity … The evidence is abundant and clear that many, if not most, in the Arab world viewed the war essentially as a holy war."

Unlike popular historians such as Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre's O Jerusalem!, so familiar to readers on the subject, there is no escape from the general into the particular and personal via anecdotes. Without the human interest angles, all we are left with are the results of Morris' unforgiving scholarship in this clearly written and exhaustive volume.

Morris once refused service in the Israel Defense Force because of his opposition to Israel's presence in the territories, and is still reviled by many on the right. But in recent years, he has spoken of the need for Israel to act to stop the threat of nuclear attack from Iran. He has also ruminated publicly that Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, may have erred by not doing what the Jewish state's opponents accused him of having done: actively seeking to push all the Arabs out of the country.

There is nothing about that in 1948, but what does come through is a lack of illusions about Arab war aims, notwithstanding the intentions of the Jews.

If the number of Arab atrocities against Jews were few (though terrible), he notes, it is only because they lost most of the battles and thus had fewer chances to commit crimes.

As for the tragedy of Palestinian refugees, though he has no illusions about the desirability for many Israelis of having fewer Arabs in the territory under their control, Morris comes straight to the point about the responsibility for their suffering.

"The refugee problem was created by the war — which the Arabs had launched," he asserts.

And, for all of his reputation as a critic of Israel, Morris also points out something in his conclusion that even the Israeli government is often reluctant to say: that there were two sets of refugees created by the war since nearly as many Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries as Arabs who fled from Israel.


Sixty years after winning a brutal war in which there was plenty of nastiness on both sides, the problem for Israel remains the same. Despite Israel's willingness to make peace and share the land, the Arabs are still refusing to do so whether, as Imam Mudeiris says, the Jews are nice are not.

"1948 has haunted, and still haunts, the Arab world on the deepest levels of the collective identity, ego and pride. The war was a humiliation from which that world has yet to recover," Morris writes.

Despite peace process and some treaties, he understands that still "the Arab world — the man in the street, the intellectual in his perch, the soldier in his dugout — refused to recognize or accept what had come to pass. It was a cosmic injustice."

The "jihadi impulse" is, more than ever, the dominant motive in Islamic life and nothing the Israelis can do or say will change that. All they can do is what they did in 1948, win and survive, and hope that their enemies will eventually have a change of heart.

But, as Morris notes in his final paragraph, the challenge from Iran and its terrorist allies leaves us still understanding that "whether 1948 was a passing fancy or has permanently etched the region remains to be seen."


Israël viert 60ste verjaardag - bevolking bijna 7,3 miljoen

Enkele statistieken over de bevolking van Israël na 60 jaar.
Israel celebrates 60, population count 7,282,000
Israel established with 873,000 inhabitants, numbers have been multiplied eight times since then. Today Israel has a population of 7,282,000
Ynet - Latest Update: 05.08.08, 06:56,7340,L-3540634,00.html

On the eve of Israel's Independence Day the country's population stands at 7,282,000 people and 75.5% are Jewish. These numbers were presented Wednesday by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.

In the bureau's "60 years in a statistical mirror" booklet it was noted that the Israeli population has increased from 873,000 people in November 1948 to 7.2 million at the beginning of 2008. According to the forecasts for 2030, Israel will have a population of approximately 10 million people.

As of now, 5,499,000 are Jewish, of which 69% were born in Israel. 1,461,000 are Arab and 322,000 are considered "others".

As a result of the population growth, the population density has also grown from 43 people to each square kilometer in 1948 to 310 people to each square kilometer in 2006. The most crowded region is Tel Aviv with 7,000 people per square kilometer as opposed to the least crowded region, the south with 72 people per square kilometer.

In 2006 the population was more spread out than it was in 1948. At the country's inception the northern and southern regions combined contained 19% of the population and by 2006 this number was increased to 31%. However, parts of the population located in the Tel Aviv and central regions were decreased throughout the years from 71% to 53%.

The Israeli population's educational level is on a constant incline. In 1948, 208 people who studied at the Hebrew University and at the Technion received a university degree. In 2006 close to 53,000 people who studied at 62 different institutions for higher education received degrees.

Moreover, the statistics advertised by the bureau show that since the establishment of the country, 57 million tourists have entered Israel. Tourist entrances have increased from 47,000 a year in the 1950s to 2.7 million in 2000.

Nonetheless, Israelis also like passing through the David Ben Gurion Airport and all other crossings on their way outside of Israel's borders. In the past 60 years, there have been 60 million Israeli exits from the country. Since Israel's establishment, the number has constantly increased from an average of 38,000 a year in the 1950s to 4.2 million in 2007.

First Published: 05.07.08, 23:13

Israël 60 Jaar: Proficiat!

Enkele foto's van onze recente reis naar Israël!

De waarheid over de doden in Gaza

Onderstaand artikel geeft een overzicht van hoe een aantal media over de dood van een Palestijnse moeder en vier kinderen berichtten vorige week. De Israëlische versie, die ook Nederlandse kranten als de NRC niet vermeldenswaard vonden, werd vaak pas in de 10e of 16e alinea gegeven, nadat eerst de Palestijnse versie uitvoerig en als feit werd weergegeven.

Dead Children in Gaza
Yaacov Lodowick, April 29, 2008
Yesterday morning a young Palestinian mother and four of her children were killed in the northern Gaza strip during an Israeli incursion. That's undisputed, and tragic.

From there on, truth is captive to ideology.

The NYT offers the best of the descriptions in this quick roundup. The tone is set in the very first sentence:

A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in northern Gaza on Monday during an Israeli operation against militants there, and a dispute quickly arose over exactly how they had died.

Faced with five dead innocents, does it really matter? Well, yes, it does. Which is why many news outlets are more sparing with the attempt to tell the truth, and more eager to let you know which side you're expected to side with.

If you read far enough into the report offered by the BBC you'll eventually find parts of the Israeli version in the 16th paragraph. The first section offers the Palestinian version as fact:

At least seven Palestinians, including a mother and her four young children, have been killed during an Israeli raid in northern Gaza, medics say.

The family members were killed when a missile hit their home in Beit Hanoun. In separate incidents, a militant and a farmer were killed.

And it also offers one sentence from an Israeli source, but as corroboration of the Palestinian version:

The Israeli military said its aircraft had attacked a group of gunmen who had fired at an army patrol in the area.

The Independent initially simply used Reuters:

Israeli fire hit a house in the Gaza Strip today while a family was eating breakfast, killing six Palestinians, including four children and their mother, residents and medical officials said.

Later, the paper had their own man write a report, and he was a bit more balanced, slightly contradicting the report that was still up on their own website, and still is. In this report the Palestinian version comes first, but the Israeli one does appear in the second paragraph:

A mother and four of her young children under seven were killed in their home yesterday by what Palestinian sources said were Israeli missiles which landed at their door during an armoured incursion into northern Gaza.

The Israeli military said it had been targeting nearby gunmen and suggested the deaths had been caused when explosives it said were being carried by two militants blew up. The children were about to eat breakfast when they were killed.

The Guardian, ever reliable if you like anti-Israeli reportage, waited a day before posting a report, so they had time to gather information and think it through. Their report has 10 paragraphs; the Israeli version appears in paragraph 9.

The United Nations posted a response of the Secretary General on its website. It's better than the Guardian, if that's comforting. The title and first two paragraphs call directly upon Israel to mend its way, but the third does address Palestinian misdemeanors.
Condemning today's loss of civilian life in the Gaza Strip – including the "tragic" deaths of a mother and four of her children – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Israel to exercise maximum care and restraint.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban reminded the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) "of its responsibility to protect civilians under international humanitarian law during its military operations."

The Secretary-General spoke out against the continuing attacks and rockets fired by Hamas today against Israel, calling on it and other militant groups to end such acts of terrorism. He also noted that they should not use Gaza as a base of operations.

Most blatant of all, however, was the response of some Arab members of Israel's Knesset. They compared the IDF to Nazis.
On the day an elected Jewish member of an Arab parliament can criticize the crimes of his state, you'll know the Messiah is just around the corner. But to be more realistic: in the day any freely elected Arab member of an Arab parliament harshly criticizes the crimes of his state, you'll be able to start dreaming of peace.