zaterdag 14 maart 2009

Onderhandelingen Palestijnse eenheidsregering lopen vast

De standpunten van Hamas en Fatah lijken onverenigbaar, want een 'partij' als Hamas hoort gewoonweg niet thuis in een democratisch politiek bestel en had nooit aan de verkiezingen mogen deelnemen, temeer daar de PA werd opgericht om met Israël tot overeenstemming te komen over een Palesijnse staat. Die overeenstemming is per definitie onmogelijk met een partij die Israël niet als legitieme staat erkent.
Palestinian unity negotiations near collapse
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hamas and Fatah negotiators said on Thursday they are having difficulty reaching an agreement over the makeup and political program of a Palestinian unity government.

Sharp differences erupted between the two parties during the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks that began in Cairo earlier this week, they said.

Also on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority released 45 Hamas detainees who were being held in its West Bank jails without trial, a PA security source said.

Twelve of the detainees were from the Nablus area, while four were from Ramallah, the source said.

The decision to release the Hamas men was taken at the request of Omar Suleiman, the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, who is hosting reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo, the source said.

Five joint Hamas-Fatah committees that have been trying to forge compromises had made little progress in the past few days, representatives of Fatah and Hamas said.

Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah official participating in the discussions at a secret Egyptian security installation, said the main dispute with Hamas was over the makeup and political program of the proposed PA government.

While Fatah supported an Egyptian proposal that called for a government of independent figures, Hamas was insisting that its representatives be part of the cabinet, he said.

"Fatah believes that it is in the interest of the Palestinians to have a government of technocrats who don't belong to any political faction," Abu al-Naja continued. "This way we won't have one faction imposing its political agenda on the government."

He said that both Hamas and Fatah must also take into consideration the international community's attitude, noting that the US and some EU countries have already made clear they won't deal with a new government that does not recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and accept all previous agreements between the PLO and Israel.

According to the Fatah official, differences have also erupted with Hamas over the timing of presidential and legislative elections, as well as the reconstruction of the Palestinian security forces. The three thorny issues concerning the government, security and elections had been referred to a higher committee that included representatives of Hamas and Fatah, Abu al-Naja said.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman attending the Cairo talks, confirmed that the two sides were still bickering over a number of issues. Unless the disputes were resolved in the coming days, the talks would end without agreement on a new government, he said.

Hamas opposed Fatah's demand that the presidential and parliamentary elections be held simultaneously on January 25, 2010, Barhoum explained. He said that the two elections should be held separately, saying that the Palestinian Legislative Council's term expires on that date, while the term of PA President Mahmoud Abbas already expired on January 9 this year.

With regards to the makeup of the proposed unity government, Barhoum said Hamas insisted that its representatives serve as ministers.

"Any new government should take into account the results of the [parliamentary] elections that took place in January 2006 and which led to Hamas's victory," he stressed.

Hamas was also strongly opposed to the reappointment of outgoing PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad as head of the unity government, he said.

Barhoum and other Hamas spokesmen reacted angrily to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's demand that a new Hamas-Fatah government accept the conditions of the Middle East Quartet, namely recognizing Israel's right to exist, renouncing terrorism and accepting all agreements between the PLO and Israel.

"Who said that we are going to form a government just to appease the Americans?" Barhoum asked. "The main reason for schism in the Palestinian arena is US meddling in our internal affairs."

Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, said he wasn't optimistic about the Cairo talks. Fatah's demand that the next PA government accept the PLO's political agenda, which supports the two-state solution, was unacceptable, he said.

"Fatah wants a government that accepts the two-state solution, and this is something that Hamas can't and will never accept," Nunu said. "We are prepared to accept a Palestinian state in the 1967 boundaries only as a temporary solution, without recognizing the Zionist occupation of any inch of our homeland."

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar also talked about difficulties that were facing the negotiators. One of the main issues that remained unresolved was that of Hamas supporters who were being held in PA prisons in the West Bank without trial, he said, speaking before Thursday's release of 45 Hamas men.

"We are talking about nearly 600 people who are still in Abbas's jails," he said. "They have released only 70 so far, but in the last few days Abbas's men arrested another 35 Palestinians on suspicion of membership in Hamas."

Failure to release all the detainees would lead to the collapse of the reconciliation talks, Zahar said.

vrijdag 13 maart 2009

Australië overweegt boycot Durban II racisme conferentie

Goed nieuws! Wie volgt?
Dergelijke formuleringen zijn eigenlijk idioot:
"Israel and Canada have already withdrawn from the April 20-24 World Conference Against Racism in Geneva amid fears Arab nations will use it to criticize Israel."
Zij - en in principe ook de VS - hebben zich teruggetrokken omdat Israel - als enige land - van misdaden tegen de menselijkheid en misschien zelfs genocide beschuldigd zal worden, een racistische Apartheidsstaat genoemd zal worden en zo impliciet dan wel expliciet, haar bestaansrecht wordt ontkend. Dat gaat dus wel wat verder dan 'kritiek op Israel'.

Australia may quit racist Durban II conference

It is not clear how much of the protest has to do with Israel, and how much is related to the "blasphemy" clauses aimed at protecting Islam from criticism. 
Australia threatened on Thursday to withdraw from a UN conference on racism next month unless the wording of a document it considers hostile to Israel is dropped or substantially altered.
Israel and Canada have already withdrawn from the April 20-24 World Conference Against Racism in Geneva amid fears Arab nations will use it to criticize Israel.
The United States has also said it will not attend the conference unless the wording of the final declaration is altered radically. Israel is calling for a boycott of the event.
"If we form the view that the text is going to lead to nothing more than an anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic harangue, an anti-Jewish propaganda exercise, Australia will not be in attendance," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told parliament.
Critics also object to final declaration sections they say could limit freedom of religion or speech.
The United States and Israel walked out of the first UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, to protest against an attempted resolution comparing Zionism to racism.

PA TV viert bloedige aanval op Israelische bus in 1978

Wat is eigenlijk nog het verschil tussen Fatah en Hamas, en in welk opzicht precies is de PA van Machmoed Abbas gematigd? Dit soort vragen bekruipen me wel vaker als ik dit soort dingen lees. Eerst dacht ik nog even: 'Oké, er is natuurlijk niks mis mee dat ze aandacht aan zo'n grote aanslag besteden, en interviews met de mensen die de kaping planden kunnen zeer interessant zijn.' Maar het is natuurlijk volkomen ongehoord dat zij door de commentaarstem als 'helden' worden aangeduid.
Abbas heeft meermaals geweld tegen Israelische burgers veroordeeld, zij het vooral om taktische redenen. Zou het nou echt heel erg moeilijk zijn om de officiele PA TV te dwingen deze lijn te volgen en niet steeds geweld tegen Israel te verheerlijken en voor de bevrijding van geheel het land tussen de Jordaan en de zee te pleiten?

March 12, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch
PA TV celebrates most murderous
terror attack in Israel's history
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
The most murderous Palestinian terror attack in Israel's history was carried out on March 11, 1978 when a bus was hijacked and 37 civilians were killed. The Palestinian Authority celebrated this attack yesterday on the anniversary of the hijacking, with an hour long TV special about the terror attack. The program included file film of PLO training camps, and interviews with a number of terrorists describing the planning and implementation of the attack.

The program opened with the narrator glorifying the attack as:

"... one of the most important and most prominent special actions, executed by the Palestinian revolution by sea, on the coast between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This action, which was carried out by a group of heroes and led by the heroic fighter Dalal Mughrabi, had a great impact on continuing events of the Arab-Israeli conflict." [PATV (Fatah) March 11 2009]

Contact Palestinian Media Watch:
p:+972 2 625 4140e:
f: +972 2 624 2803w:

PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel


Israel stemt toe alle 450 Hamas gevangenen te ruilen voor Shalit

In dit geval zou ik willen dat Hamas gelijk had, en er momenteel geen onderhandelingen plaatsvinden over een gevangenenruil. Het begint me wel steeds meer te dagen waarom de Israelische regering op het laatst nog zo'n vernederende deal wil sluiten, waarna Netanjahoe de hernieuwde pogingen tot het plegen van aanslagen door de vrijgelaten terroristen mag voorkomen: hierin spelen de media bepaald geen fraaie rol.

Sources: Israel agrees to free all 450 Hamas prisoners for Shalit
By Avi Issacharoff and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents
Last update - 06:19 13/03/2009

Israel has agreed to free all 450 of the prisoners demanded by Hamas in exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, and the dispute now revolves around Israel's demand that some of these prisoners be deported rather than returned home, Palestinian sources in Cairo said Thursday.

Ofer Dekel, Israel's lead negotiator on the issue, was in Cairo Thursday for further talks with Egyptian mediators.

According to the sources, Israel is insisting that several dozen of the released prisoners be exiled abroad and that others be released to Gaza rather than the West Bank. However, Hamas has thus far agreed to the deportation of only a handful of prisoners, and has conditioned even this on the consent of the prisoners to be deported. It also opposes releasing prisoners to Gaza rather than the West Bank.

Though Hamas officials are concerned that a deal might be harder to strike once a new Israeli government takes office, they insist that they will not agree to any further compromises. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud A-Zahar even denied Thursday that talks were taking place at all and said Israeli reports of progress are false.

"Hamas isn't talking with anyone about a prisoner exchange for Shalit," he told the Nazareth-based newspaper Kul al-Arab by telephone from Cairo. "If anyone's holding negotiations, it isn't us."

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, also denied reports of progress in the talks.

"It's a lie," he told Kul al-Arab. "The talks with Egypt on the matter are currently frozen."

Meanwhile, Hamas and Fatah continued their reconciliation talks in Cairo Thursday. The talks are expected to continue at least through Saturday.

Israelische media onkritisch in steun voor gevangenenruil Shalit

Bij ons krijgen pro-Israelische visies nauwelijks aandacht in de media, in Israel krijgen tegenstanders van het vrijlaten van duizend gevangenen voor een soldaat nauwelijks ruimte. Terwijl er permanent een tent tegenover het regeringsgebouw staat van de familie van Shalit, is een tent van tegenstanders van een deal binnen 24 uur ontmanteld. De media gaan, aldus Yaron Dekel, niet in op de mogelijke gevolgen van een deal voor Israels veiligheid, voor de toekomstige taktiek van het leger, voor de vraag hoeveel zin het nog heeft om terroristen te arresteren en in Israel te berechten. Hij wijt de ongunstige deal met Hezbollah afgelopen zomer, waarin men zich liet verrassen en pas achteraf bleek wat men eigenlijk wel wist, namelijk dat de soldaten dood waren en Israel niet stond op duidelijkheid vooraf hierover, eveneens aan de rol van de media.

"The media has chosen to serve the Shalit family and not the public interest.
But good journalism is tested in difficult times, not easy times."

The Shalit manipulation
Media's overwhelming endorsement of Shalit deal does not serve our national interest
Yaron Dekel - YNET
Published: 03.13.09, 00:02 / Israel Opinion,7340,L-3685738,00.html

One cannot but admire Aviva and Noam Shalit. The abducted soldier's reserved family did not easily embark on the aggressive campaign to free its kidnapped son. We can see the difficulties reflected on their faces, in their manner of expression, and in the occasional remark picked up by the microphones at their protest tent. It was not easy for them to embark on the aggressive campaign against the prime minister and share their feelings with the entire nation of Israel. Every time one watches them or hears them, one cannot but appreciate this noble family.

Fortunately for them, the Israeli press waited for the current stage in the struggle and is now all over it, as if it found a great treasure. The Israeli media has already decided: Gilad must be released, at any price, and the earlier the better. As such, the media has devoted itself to the family's campaign, while choosing to forget that the story is more complex and less simplistic than the abduct soldier's family wishes to present it.

To the press' credit, we can say that it is conducting itself consistently. During the campaign to return the bodies of IDF casualties Regev and Goldwasser, may they rest in peace, the media did not remain on the sidelines either. It pressed the PM and government ministers until the deal was executed. It also refused to highlight the fact it was aware of for a long time: We were dealing with bodies, rather than living soldiers. Indeed, we saw reports about it here and there, but they were washed away in the immense flood of news that swept through the country. These reports were unable to prevent the national surprise that materialized when the two black coffins were presented.

In the months before the deal, the media knew the truth. It was aware of it, but remained silent. After all, it was clear that if we were dealing with dead soldiers, it would make for a smaller news story. Needless to say that full disclosure of the facts may have changed the deal's outcome.

What happened back then is again happening now. Gilad's eyes are featured on the front pages of newspapers, while the headlines scream: "Parents of terror victims call for Gilad's release." However, the media betrays its duty when it presents only one side of this painful story - the Shalit family's side. It willingly takes part in the effort to bring tears to our eyes.

Gilad's childhood photos, as well as the prominent coverage of the words uttered by Tami and Yuval Arad and well as Karnit Goldwasser heightens and highlights the drama, and the rating figures. Those who object to the deal are only marginally mentioned compared to the media festival and live coverage from the Shalit family's protest tent. Is it any wonder that populist politicians who seek short-lived glory are rushing to the tent? They do understand the concept of rating.

They forgot the victims, and the counter protest tent of those opposed to a deal was dismantled within 24 hours.

It's also difficult to find reports about the ramifications of this deal. Reports that not only ask what the terrorists could do once they are be released, but also a wider discussion about the impact this deal will have on IDF operations in the future, on the combat doctrine and efforts to sacrifice lives rather than fall into captivity, and about the issue of capturing terrorists alive in order to try them in Israel, knowing that the verdict is temporary until the next abduction.

The media has chosen to serve the Shalit family and not the public interest. But good journalism is tested in difficult times, not easy times.

It's tested in its ability to stimulate a debate, to protest, to fuel an argument, raise doubts and create cracks in a monolithic public opinion. The same goes for peace times as in times of war. Journalism has a decisive role to play in a democratic society. Its role is not to move hearts.

In today's media environment, a decision-maker who dares swim against the current is risking a long-term decline in popularity. After the first terror attack is carried out by one of those released, there will be people who roll their eyes and say: "But we cautioned."

The media has a right to press the decision-makers to decide. It has a right to bring human-interest stories. But it also has an obligation to bring the complex sides of the story to the public's notice and not just make do with one side of the story.

This is not coverage. This is a campaign.

You can be in favor of a deal or vehemently oppose it, but media outlets that hold back information and prefer to be emotional are populist and superficial, and most of all, betray their duty.
Yaron Dekel is Channel 1's political commentator and hosts the "All Talk" radio show on Israel Radio

VN bevestigt dat Iraans schip wapens vervoerde

Naast Iran betrekt Syrië al jaren wapens van met name Rusland, China en Noord-Korea.

UN Confirms Iran Ship had arms cargo

UN Confirms Iran Caught Red-Handed in Ship Loaded with Weapons

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

( A United Nations Security Council committee confirmed on Tuesday that Iran violated U.N. sanctions by trying to send a ship with weapons to Syria. The high-explosive shells, including those than can pierce armor, and anti-tank explosives may have been destined for Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Hizbullah in Iran or Syrian-backed Iraqis, Council diplomats told the Associated Press.

The U.N. has banned Iran from exporting weapons or materials for the manufacture of arms.

The ship, chartered by the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been docked in Cyprus since January 29, when Cypriot authorities unloaded it and said there were no weapons aboard, although it found material that could be used to make ammunition.

However, United States military inspectors found artillery shells on the ship when it stopped in the Red Sea and said it was destined for Syria.

The U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee told Cypriot authorities that the shipment contravened the U.N. sanctions. Officials from Cyprus said the weapons may be defused "at the appropriate time." Britain offered to help neutralize the explosives.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice condemned the violation, and France and Britain expressed concern. Iran and Syria were ordered to explain the shipment, but the U.N. has not stated if there will be any punitive action.

The sanctions were clamped on Iran after it refused to suspend its program for enriching uranium, a key material for manufacturing a nuclear weapon.


Hillary Clinton: VS steun aan Gaza afhankelijk van erkennen Israel

Dit standpunt zouden alle Westerse landen moeten innemen. Een eenheidsregering die Israel niet erkent, de akkoorden tussen Israel en de PLO niet respecteert en 'gewapend verzet' (zelfmoordaanslagen, raketten op burgers, aanvallen op religieuze scholen, met een bulldozer op een menigte inrijden...) geoorloofd vind tegen de bezetting (waaronder ook de Klaagmuur en Joodse wijk in de oude stad van Jeruzalem valt, en volgens sommigen zelfs Tel Aviv en Beersheva), brengt vrede alleen maar verder weg. Met wie moet Israel dan praten? Netanjahoe komt dit wellicht niet ongelegen; hij heeft zo het perfecte argument in handen niet te hoeven onderhandelen en geen concessies te hoeven doen. De grote verliezers zijn de mensen aan beide kanten die voor vrede en een tweestatenoplossing zijn.

Clinton: U.S. Gaza aid tied to recognition of Israel
By Barak Ravid Haaretz
Last update - 03:25 12/03/2009

About $900 million pledged by the United States to the Palestinians will be withdrawn if the expected Palestinian Authority coalition government between Fatah and Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist, Western and Israeli diplomats said Wednesday.

During her visit to the region last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against forming a coalition with Hamas that will not meet the expectations of the Quartet.

Clinton told Abbas that Congress will not approve funding of a Palestinian government that does not recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence. She added that if those requirements are not met the U.S.-funded program under the supervision of General Keith Dayton training PA security forces would be the first to be axed.

Fatah and Hamas are currently engaged in talks intended to reestablish ties between the Palestinian factions that were severed two years ago when Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip, routing Fatah-backed PA security forces.

Clinton discussed the issue of forming a Palestinian coalition with Fatah representatives, who told her that the new government would consist of non-affiliated officials whose chief task will be to prepare the Palestinian territories for new general elections.

She reportedly told the officials she believed holding new elections was secondary to building the bureaucracy of the Palestinian Authority. The Obama administration is adamant in maintaining the previous U.S. presidential administration's position of boycotting Hamas. Two weeks ago Clinton said lifting the boycott would damage attempts to reach peace in the region.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner recently supported an initiative aimed at easing sanctions against Hamas. Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir al-Thani is also trying to promote dialogue between the West, Arab states and Hamas.

Two weeks ago Clinton met with a number of Arab foreign ministers at the conference held at Sharm el-Sheikh aimed at raising donations for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, whose infrastructure was badly damaged during Israel's operation there earlier this year. Talks between the U.S. diplomat and her Arab counterparts focused on means of distributing money to Palestinians in Gaza.

During negotiations Clinton insisted that the money be placed solely under the Palestinian Authority's supervision and strongly rejected offers by Arab states that they assume responsibility for distribution of the funds. In total, a record $4.4 billion was raised at Sharm, with Saudi Arabia making the largest single donation of $1 billion. The donations greatly exceeded the PA's expectations of raising $2.5 billion total. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the total figure comes to $5.2 billion.

Vooruitgang in onderhandelingen over Shalit

Ik had goeie hoop dat het er niet meer van zou komen voor de nieuwe regering er zit, die waarschijnlijk een fermer standpunt in zal nemen. Begrijp me niet verkeerd, Shalit verdient natuurlijk zijn vrijheid en hij verdient zeker ook onze steun, maar niet ten koste van alles. 1.000 Of meer gevangenen vrijlaten, waaronder terroristen die tientallen Israeli's hebben gedood, en hun oude 'professie' maar wat graag weer willen oppakken, werkt averechts. Het versterkt Hamas, zowel fysiek als psychologisch, en verzwakt Israel, ook zowel fysiek als psychologisch. Er is een zorgelijke trend waarbij Israel steeds astronomischer aantallen Palestijnen vrijlaat voor een enkele soldaat of zelfs slechts dode lichamen. Waar eindigt dit??

Progress reportedly made on Shalit deal,7340,L-3685115,00.html

Source close to talks says says Cairo preparing two-stage plan that will see 300 Palestinians freed in exchange for captive soldier; current Hamas list includes names unacceptable to Israel, he says

AFP - Published:  03.12.09, 00:52

Egypt hosted closed-door talks on Wednesday on a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel that would set free soldier Gilad Shalit along with hundreds of Palestinians.

"Intensive and tough negotiations are underway on the names of the Hamas prisoners to be traded for Shalit," a source close to the talks told AFP, asking not to be named.

Dekel "is now expected to spend a second night in Egypt and will pursue talks, in an apparent sign that things are moving," the source said later on Wednesday.

He said the two sides were in a race against the clock to seal a deal before an April 3 time-limit for Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government.

"There are some names of terrorists (on the list) whose release would be unacceptable for Israeli public opinion," said the source close to the talks. "The question is whether Hamas is flexible enough to remove such names."

He said Cairo was preparing a two-stage release: about 300 Palestinians would walk free in return for Shalit's transfer to Egypt, and he would return home once the rest are released.

Dekel is locked in talks with Egypt's Intelligence Chief General Omar Suleiman, who has been working to mediate a deal in the absence of direct talks between Hamas and Israel. 

The latest prisoner swap efforts coincide with a visit to Cairo by Mussa Abu Marzuk, the deputy head of Hamas' politburo, for the inter-Palestinian talks.

"I don't have information on Shalit. I don't even know if he is alive or not," the Damascus-based Abu Marzuk told an Arab newspaper. "Only the factions holding him know, and such information comes at a price."

He said 450 convicted Palestinians were up for release as well as 550 other detainees: youths, women and Hamas political figures.

donderdag 12 maart 2009

Rode Kruis in Gaza: waar is Gilad Shalit?

Het Rode Kruis is actief in Gaza voor de Palestijnse bevolking, maar vergeet een persoon die onvrijwillig al meer dan twee en een half jaar in Gaza verkeert, op een onbekende plek, beroofd van de meest basale rechten. Het wordt tijd ze daar eens op te wijzen.

How to free Gilad Shalit

It is not the Israeli government that is at fault for being reluctant to free hundreds of convicted terrorists in order to obtain the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Put the blame where it belongs. Send the demonstrators to erect a tent in front of International Red Cross headquarters.
Op-Ed: Act to free Gilad Shalit
By Zelda Harris and Marian Lebor
TEL AVIV (JTA) -- People throughout the world, including the beleaguered south of Israel, of all places, are collecting and donating humanitarian aid to Gaza. Courts of law in numerous countries are being employed against Israelis to issue civil lawsuits and undertake criminal investigations using allegations of "war crimes," "crimes against humanity" and other alleged violations of international law.
By contrast, there are very few calls for the filing of cases against any war crimes perpetrated by Hamas, and there is a resounding silence regarding the violation of Gilad Shalit's rights under the Geneva Conventions as a prisoner of war.
While worldwide attention is concentrated on the Palestinians' humanitarian plight, where is the concern about the condition of one Israeli in Gaza who has been denied very basic human rights for 959 days, and counting?
Gilad Shalit has been held in captivity in Gaza, whereabouts unknown, since early Sunday morning, June 25, 2006, when a Gazan terror cell launched a cross-border attack on an Israel Defense Forces post near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in southern Israel. Lt. Hanan Barak from Arad and Sgt. Pavel Slocker from Dimona were killed in the attack in which Gilad Shalit was kidnapped.
Nearly 1,000 days later, we ask: Where is Gilad Shalit? No one outside of Gaza knows and no one in Gaza is willing to say.
Hamas, as the "declared" government of Gaza, must abide by international conventions if it is to be recognized. Yet Hamas is content to bargain with Gilad's life and deny him his most basic human right as a prisoner of war. All Palestinian prisoners in Israel are entitled to visits by the International Red Cross. These prisoners can all be accounted for. We are asking for the International Red Cross to be given access to Gilad Shalit now.
At the recent rally to mark 21 years since the founding of Hamas, the world witnessed an abhorrent spectacle on TV: A young boy dressed in IDF uniform masqueraded as Gilad Shalit and read from a prepared text in Hebrew saying that he missed his parents, while 200,000 Gazans jeered.
Imagine if Gilad were your son, grandson, brother, nephew or neighbor? What would you do if you knew that he was less than a two-hour drive from you and there was no way to get to him? Why can't a member of the International Red Cross visit Gilad? We want tangible evidence that he is alive. We want this now, ahead of any prisoner exchange.
There is a precedent for the involvement of the International Red Cross with Israeli prisoners of war. On Sept. 11, 1969, an Israeli fighter plane was downed over Egypt and the pilot, Capt. Giora Rom, bailed out. Rom was wounded and taken captive. He was returned to Israel three months later.
During his captivity, the International Red Cross visited Rom. In a recent radio interview, he said he thought his life was over until this visit, which gave him reason to hope and to live, and to expect that one day he would be released.
Gilad Shalit has had no such moral support. He remains in captivity, all alone.
The International Red Cross works in Gaza. We want the organization to provide us with the answer to our question: Where is Gilad Shalit?
In the 1970s and 1980s, Jewish communities around the world asserted themselves in the "free Soviet Jewry" campaign. It was a grass-roots movement comprising Jews of all ages and backgrounds who had a single aim: to free their Russian brethren who were arrested and imprisoned for openly expressing their desire to leave the Soviet Union and immigrate to Israel. Not a day went by without demonstrations, and letter-writing and telephone campaigns, organized to target Soviet embassies, consulates, businesses, artists and sportsmen, and to lobby lawmakers to exert diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union.
We ask that people worldwide organize themselves along similar lines now to help Gilad Shalit.
Those who care about human rights should take Gilad into their hearts. Contact your member of parliament, congressman, elected official or any agency purporting to stand up for human rights and ask them to act. Contact your synagogues, churches, organizations or clubs that you attend to enlist support. Organize a vigil outside the Red Cross headquarters in your country and inform the media.
Do not let a day go by without thinking of Gilad Shalit and doing what you can to find out where he is.
While the world is focused on Gaza and the plight of the Palestinians, we must not forget Gilad Shalit.
(Zelda Harris, who lives in Israel, was a leading activist in the 35's-Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry in the 1970s and is a former director of BIPAC-Israel. Marian Lebor, who also lives in Israel, is a freelance writer and filmmaker who was active in the universities committee for Soviet Jewry in the 1970s.)

Charles Freeman, Chinese dissidenten en de Israel-lobby

In tegenstelling tot wat antizionisten beweren die nu steen en been klagen over de macht van de Israellobby, is het feit dat zo'n man tot zo'n post benoemd kan worden al een bewijs dat die Israellobby blijkbaar niet zo almachtig, is, en er evengoed lobbygroepen in tegengestelde richting bezig zijn. Wat altijd weer opvalt, is wat voor types antizionisten (die zichzelf vaak als progressief en pro-mensenrechten beschouwen) verdedigen. Mao Tsedong verheerlijken en China aanmoedigen harder tegen dissidenten en Tibetanen op te treden heeft toch weinig met mensenrechten en progressieve waarden te maken. Zolang iemand maar anti-Israel is, is alles wat hij doet welgedaan, lijkt het motto. Maar is het sowieso niet hoogst bizar dat een zo prominent lid van de Arabische lobby en iemand met zulke rare ideeën over democratie op de hoogste veiligheidspost benoemd kon worden?

Stephens: Charles Freeman is "intelligence crackpot"

Stephens takes on the absurd contentions of M.J. Rosenberg and others that only neocon right-wing Zionists are opposed to the nomination of Charles Freeman as head of the NIC. Highlight:
In a recent article about Mr. Freeman's nomination in the Huffington Post, M.J. Rosenberg of the left-wing Israel Policy Forum writes that "Everyone involved in the anti-Freeman effort are staunch allies of the lobby." Of course: Only the most fervid Likudnik mandarins could object to Mr. Freeman's 2006 characterization of Mao Zedong as a man who, for all his flaws, had a "brilliance of . . . personality [that] illuminated the farthest corners of his country and inspired many would-be revolutionaries and romantics beyond it." It also takes a Shanghai Zionist to demur from Mr. Freeman's characterization of the Chinese leadership's response to the "mob scene" at Tiananmen as "a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership."
But the bad news is that the propaganda of Rosenberg and others like him is working. US Congresspeople are apathetic about Freeman and many apparently don't even know who he is and don't care. One reason is that pro-Israel activists have ignored the Freeman issue, focusing instead on hopeless causes and non-issues like American aid to rebuild Gaza.
Ami Isseroff
Obama's National Intelligence Crackpot
What does the Jewish lobby have to do with China's dissidents?

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published a letter from 17 U.S. ambassadors defending the appointment of Charles Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council. The same day, the leaders of the 1989 protests that led to the massacre at Beijing's Tiananmen Square wrote Barack Obama "to convey our intense dismay at your selection" of Mr. Freeman.
If moral weight could be measured on a zero to 100 scale, the signatories of the latter letter, some of whom spent years in Chinese jails, would probably find themselves in the upper 90s. Where Mr. Freeman and his defenders stand on this scale is something readers can decide for themselves.
So what do Chinese democracy activists have against Mr. Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia? As it turns out, they are all, apparently, part-and-parcel of the Israel Lobby.
In a recent article about Mr. Freeman's nomination in the Huffington Post, M.J. Rosenberg of the left-wing Israel Policy Forum writes that "Everyone involved in the anti-Freeman effort are staunch allies of the lobby." Of course: Only the most fervid Likudnik mandarins could object to Mr. Freeman's 2006 characterization of Mao Zedong as a man who, for all his flaws, had a "brilliance of . . . personality [that] illuminated the farthest corners of his country and inspired many would-be revolutionaries and romantics beyond it." It also takes a Shanghai Zionist to demur from Mr. Freeman's characterization of the Chinese leadership's response to the "mob scene" at Tiananmen as "a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership."
Mr. Freeman knows China well: He served as a translator during Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit to Beijing. More recently, Mr. Freeman served on the advisory board of CNOOC, the Chinese state-owned oil giant. Is this also a qualification to lead the NIC?
But the Far East is by no means Mr. Freeman's only area of expertise. For many years he has led the Middle East Policy Council, generously funded by Saudi money. It's a generosity Mr. Freeman has amply repaid.
Thus, recalling Mr. Freeman's special pleading on behalf of Riyadh during his stint as ambassador in the early '90s, former Secretary of State James Baker called it "a classic case of clientitis from one of our best diplomats." Mr. Freeman has also been quoted as saying "It is widely charged in the United States that Saudi Arabian education teaches hateful and evil things. I do not think this is the case." Yet according to a 2006 report in the Washington Post, an eighth grade Saudi textbook contains the line, "They are the Jews, whom God has cursed and with whom He is so angry that He will never again be satisfied." Maybe Mr. Freeman was unaware of this. Or maybe he doesn't consider it particularly evil and hateful.
Whatever the case, Mr. Freeman has been among the Kingdom's most devoted fans, going so far as to suggest that King Abdullah "is very rapidly becoming Abdullah the Great." No sycophancy there.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Freeman was a ferocious critic of the war on terror. Not surprising, either, was his opinion about what started it: "We have paid heavily and often in treasure in the past for our unflinching support and unstinting subsidies of Israel's approach to managing its relations with the Arabs," he said in 2006. "Five years ago we began to pay with the blood of our citizens here at home."
This is not a particularly original argument, although in Mr. Freeman's case it becomes a kind of monomania, in which Israel is always the warmonger, always slapping away Arab hands extended in peace. Say what you will about this depiction of reality, there's also a peculiar psychology at work.
Then again, as Middle East scholar Martin Kramer points out, Mr. Freeman's recent views on the causes of 9/11 contradict his view from 1998, when he insisted that al Qaeda's "campaign of violence against the United States has nothing to do with Israel." What changed? Mr. Kramer thinks Mr. Freeman was merely following the lead of his benefactor, Citibank shareholder Prince Al-Waleed, who opined that 9/11 was all about U.S. support for Israel, not what the Kingdom teaches about the infidels.
Is Mr. Freeman merely a shill? That seems unfair, even if it's hard to square his remorseless "realism" in matters Chinese with the touching solicitude he feels for Israel's victims (who, by his count, must be numbered in the tens of millions). James Fallows of the Atlantic has argued that Mr. Freeman's "contrarian inclination" would serve him well in the NIC post. But the line between contrarian and crackpot is a thin one, and knowing the difference between the two is a main task of intelligence.
Adm. Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence who asked Mr. Freeman to serve, is testifying today in Congress. Somebody should ask him if any of Mr. Freeman's views quoted above meet the definition of "crackpot," and, if not, why?

woensdag 11 maart 2009

Charles Freeman wijst nominatie af voor Amerikaanse National Intelligence Council

Goed nieuws voor de verandering! De omstreden Charles Freeman ziet af van de post als top-veiligheidsadviseur voor de Amerikaanse regering.


Charles Freeman declines nomination as head of National Intelligence Council
Victory is announced sparingly. .Charles Freeman, outspoken President of the MEPC Arab lobby, withdrew from consideration as head of the National Intelligence Council after mounting pressure from US congresmen and Senators. This is the terse Reuters announcement:

U.S. choice for top intelligence analyst withdraws
Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:56pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The candidate for a top U.S. intelligence post withdrew from the running on Tuesday after angering some in Congress with remarks on Israeli "oppression" of Palestinians, and about China.

The office of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said in a statement that Charles Freeman, who had been picked to head the National Intelligence Council, had asked not to proceed.

Blair had accepted Freeman's decision with regret, the statement said.
The appointment was not the responsibility of Barack Obama. Blair had pushed Freeman as his nominee for the post. The post is not normally reviewed by congress as it is not an ambassadorship or cabinet level appointment.  But Freeman's statements favoring repression of dissent as a principle, not only in Tienanmen Square, must've been hard to swallow even for the starkest realists. The fact that he was President of the MEPC Arab lobby and a board member of the American Iranian Council, a lobby for the Iranian interests, should have indicated that he was not exactly beyond suspicion of bias. it is true that many Washingtonians have such ties, but not many of them are chosen to evaluate the United States National Intelligence Estimate, or have such outspoken opinions about Israel. For details of the Freeman issue, and the McCarthyite campain against Freeman critics conducted by M.J. Rosenberg, Professor Walt and others, see Charles Freeman - Barack Obama owes America an explanation

Nonetheless, the absurd appointment to a critical post had aroused only nominal interest. Mainstream media hardly mentioned it at all except in op-eds. The nomination of Freeman became a cause celebre for the more vicious enemies of Israel, none of whom considered whether or not it would be appropriate to have an individual who was obviously biased judging intelligence. The only thing they knew about Freeman is that he is anti-Israel, and that is all that interested them. His backers crowed incessantly about their victory over the "Israel lobby" and smeared anyone who dared to disagree as right wing neocon Zionists. Now they will no doubt portray Freeman as a sort of American Horst Wessel, a victim of the Jewish interests. It is not clear how they can justify the idea that it is somehow in the best interests of the United States to have a pro-Iranian lobbyists judging intelligence about Iranian nuclear development.

Much of the credit for exposing freeman goes to Steve Rosen, squads of alert bloggers and unnamed anonymous others, as well as a bipartisan group of congresspersons who signed a letter asking for an investigation of Freeman. When a group of Senate Republicans voiced similar concerns, it was apparently too much for Freeman, though he did manage to muster the support of 17 ambassadors and former ambassadors. 

Ami Isseroff

George Galloway leidt konvooi hulpgoederen naar Gaza via Egypte

Tot zover Egyptes solidariteit met de Palestijnen. Galloway is het enfant terrible van het Britse parlement.


Gaza aid convoy 'attacked' in Egypt

A British convoy with medical relief for the Palestinian Gaza Strip has been pelted with stones and vandalised in the Egyptian town of El-Arish, 45km south of the Rafah border crossing.
Several people in the convoy were injured in the incident on Sunday according to Yvonne Ridley, one of the convoy organisers.
"It's an absolute disgrace... The power was cut. During cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.
"Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans," she said.
A security official said that during a power cut, which is a frequent occurrence in the town, children pelted the convoy with stones.
The Viva Palestina convoy, led by George Galloway, a British member of parliament, has caused controversy in Egypt.
Criticised Mubarak
Galloway has previously called Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, an "international criminal" for not permanently opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza.
But he said he would meet representatives of Mubarak's National Democratic party as he arrived in Cairo on Saturday.
Several opposition groups, which had been campaigning for the opening of the Egypt-Gaza crossing, cancelled a planned reception for the convoy when it crossed from Libya on Thursday.
And a prominent Egyptian opposition blogger criticised the convoy.
"I and the rest of the Palestine solidarity activists sincerely wish Galloway a nice time and reception by the same persons who imprison, torture and abuse Arab solidarity activists," Hossam el-Hamalawy wrote in his blog.
The Egyptian government arrested dozens of opposition members who demonstrated against Israel's war on Gaza in December and January, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Galloway's 110 vehicle convoy has been travelling through Europe and North Africa, carrying aid supplies valued at $1.4m.
Heading to Rafah
It is expected to head to Rafah on Monday after a dispute arose between organisers and Egyptian officials over the inclusion of non-medical aid in the convoy.
Egyptian officials have said they would allow medical relief through the Rafah passage but non-medical goods such as food would have to pass through Israel's crossings with the Palestinian enclave.
"George Galloway is still in negotiations," Ridley said.
"What we have agreed to do is to separate the medical aid from the non-medical aid. The non-medical will go into Gaza via the Egyptian Red Crescent."
Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing during brief periods of the war to let aid into the strip and to let wounded Palestinians leave, but it has since been closed.
Ten Libyan trucks carrying medicine were allowed into Gaza on Sunday, a border official said.

Enquete: Hamas na Gaza Oorlog niet populairder dan Fatah

De kop hieronder klopt niet: weliswaar zou Haniyeh volgens deze peiling met 2% van Abbas winnen in presidentsverkieizngen, Fatah is met 40% steun nog steeds een stuk populairder dan Hamas met 33%. Waarom zet men zo'n onjuiste kop boven een artikel? En waarom worden de resultaten van de peiling ook in het artikel onjuist weergegeven? Pas bijna onderaan blijkt dat Fatah nog steeds 7% voorligt op Hamas. Omdat men het leuk vind als mensen denken dat Israels offensief in Gaza Hamas populairder heeft gemaakt? Zo krijgt Israel weer de schuld van de macht van Hamas, en alles wat Hamas doet, en wordt Israels aanval (na honderden raketten sinds Hamas het staakt het vuren niet wilde verlengen) als ineffectief of zelfs contraproductief voorgesteld. Zo komen de fabeltjes de wereld in.

Last update - 19:23 09/03/2009       
Poll: Hamas more popular after Gaza offensive
By Reuters
Hamas's popularity among Palestinians has risen sharply since Israel's three-week offensive against the Islamist group in Gaza last month, an opinion poll released on Monday showed.
If an election were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, who advocates a peace deal with Israel.
The face-to-face poll of 1,270 people by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research was conducted on March 5-7 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the rival factions tried to reach agreement on a unity government with Egyptian mediation.
Hamas, which Western powers shun as a terrorist organization, won a Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip the next year in a bloody coup.
Israel responded by tightening its blockade of the coastal enclave, increasing hardships for its 1.5 million residents.
The January war, which Israel launched with the stated aim of stopping cross-border rocket fire by militants, killed about 1,300 Palestinians, Gaza officials said. 13 Israelis were also killed in the hostilities.
The campaign also destroyed 5,000 homes in Gaza and left much of the coastal strip's governmental and economic infrastructure in ruins.
"Despite the visible increase in the popularity of Hamas and Haniyeh", the pollsters reported, the overwhelming majority, 71 percent, believes Palestinians are worse off than they were before the war.
The survey said Haniyeh would garner 47 percent support, beating Abbas with 45 percent, if a presidential election was held today. Three months ago, Abbas received 48 percent and Haniyeh 38 percent.
But if the competition were between Haniyeh and Marwan Barghouti, the popular Fatah leader currently imprisoned by Israel, Barghouthi would win by 61 percent to 34 percent, the survey showed.
Fatah, however, remains the most popular faction with 40 percent of overall support, compared to 42 percent last December, it said. The popularity of Hamas in the same period increased from 28 percent to 33 percent in the latest poll.
The most important priority for Palestinians today, in the eyes of 46 percent of the sample, should be the unification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Nearly two-thirds believe a Hamas victory in presidential and legislative elections would lead to the tightening of the Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip, whereas nearly as many believe a Fatah victory would mean the end of the blockade.
Respondents in Gaza in particular believe a Hamas victory would perpetuate the blockade and the rift in Palestinian ranks.

dinsdag 10 maart 2009

Joodse onderzoeker bomaanslag Argentinië ontvoerd en gemarteld

De lange arm van Iran reikt tot in Argentinië, dat in de jaren '90 werd opgeschrikt door 2 bomaanslagen op de Joodse gemeenschap daar. Ze zijn nooit opgehelderd, maar algemeen wordt vermoed dat Hezbollah en Iran erachter zaten.

Long arm of the Ayatollahs reaches Argentina

AMIA investigator tortured in Argentina

Mar. 8, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST


Argentinean Jewish community leaders were demanding an immediate probe Sunday into the kidnap and torture of one of the senior investigators in the 1994 Iranian-Hizbullah bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The investigator, Claudio Lifschitz, said masked attackers nabbed him from his home on Friday night, threw him into the trunk of a van and violently interrogated him for several hours.

The men identified themselves as members of the Argentinean intelligence service and demanded to know if Lifschitz had any case material that wasn't presented in court regarding several Iranian suspects, he said.

The assailants also burnt the letters AMIA into Lifschitz 's back and arm before releasing him near the police academy premises in Buenos Aires.

"They made me get out of my car, get into a van and they took me away," Lifschitz said. "They put a plastic bag over my head and with a blowtorch, they burnt the letters AMIA on my arm and my back."

Argentinean Jewish community leader José Scaliter was quoted on the local Jewish News Agency Web site as saying that "we have called for an immediate probe of the incident."

Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee expressed its outrage over the assault.

"We trust Argentine authorities will quickly find those who carried out this brutal attack on Mr. Lifschitz," AJC Executive Director David A. Harris was quoted on its Web site as saying. "This awful incident undermines Argentina's important progress to bring to justice those responsible for the murderous attack on AMIA's headquarters."

Eighty-five people were killed and more than 200 were wounded in the July 18, 1994, bombing, the single worst terrorist attack on Argentinean soil.

The blast leveled the seven-story building, a symbol of Argentina's 200,000-strong Jewish population.

Late last year, a 10 million pesos civil suit was filed in an Argentinean court by the family of one of the victims, in the wake of an Argentinean prosecutor's report linking Iran to the bombing.

Since the report was released, a series of international arrest warrants were issued against Iranian officials for the attack.


Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report


Bom in al-Jazeera kantoor Gaza Stad

Als zoiets in Israel zou gebeuren, dan zou dat op het journaal zijn geweest en in verschillende kranten hebben gestaan. Maar de chaos en wetteloosheid in Gaza zijn niet interessant als Israel er niet bij betrokken is. Dus weten we van dergelijke intimidaties van onafhankelijke media niks af.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD (non profit)
Security Chaos and Proliferation of Weapons
Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups or Security Personnel
Field Update
08 March 2009
PCHR Condemns Attack on al-Jazeera Office in Gaza city
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns an attack at the office of the al-Jazeera Satellite Channel in Gaza city, which is part of the state of security chaos and proliferation of weapons plaguing the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:00 on Saturday, 07 March, Wissam Hammad, a news producer at al-Jazeera in Gaza city, received a phone call from an unidentified person, who informed him that an explosive device had been planted near the door of the office and was going to be detonated. 
When he received the phone call, Wissam Hammad was in the al-Jazeera office, which is located on the eleventh floor of the al-Jalaa' Building in the center of Gaza City. Staff members immediately began to evacuate the premises, and whilst doing so they found an explosive device at the office door. A piece of paper found near the device stated the following: "To those with unfair media consciences, if you think of a solution it will be well-known. Leave immediately."
The statement was signed by persons identifying themselves as "Ghosts of Sameeh al-Madhoun." Wa'el al-Dahdouh, an al-Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, told PCHR that the police were immediately informed, and deactivated the bomb.
PCHR strongly condemns this attack and calls upon all concerned authorities to search for and bring the perpetrators to justice according to the rule of law.
Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: , Webpage
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Israel kan nucleair programma Iran niet stoppen

Slecht nieuws over Iran en de nieuwe strategie van de VS. Buiten Israel lijkt de wil niet aanwezig om een Iraanse kernbom tegen te houden, en Israel alleen is er hoogstwaarschijnlijk niet toe in staat.


ANALYSIS / Israel has failed in bid to halt Iran nuke program
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 05:08 09/03/2009

The statements by Military Intelligence head, Major General Amos Yadlin, that Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" in its nuclear program, can mean only one thing: Everything is now up to Tehran.

If it wants to, Iran can proceed and produce its first nuclear weapon, but if it doesn't want to, it will not do so. This conclusion means that Israel, through Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who declared it a national priority to foil Iran's nuclear program, has failed in its mission.

The "technological threshold" is a Military Intelligence term for an expression they thought was too deterministic: the point of no return.

It means that Iran has the know-how, the resources and the equipment to make a nuclear weapon. But the MI chief's assessment is not necessarily based on sensitive, classified information. It was clearly written in the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report. Iran has 4000 active centrifuges. These produce the low-grade enrichment of more than a ton of uranium.

If Iran wants to, it has the resources and the equipment to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level. Twenty-five kilograms of highly-enriched uranium is sufficient for a bomb.

The new U.S. administration has improved Tehran's position. The U.S. changed its approach after concluding that prior threats and sanctions had failed to have an effect. President Barack Obama intends to talk with the ayatollahs and to offer them a broad deal: a resolution in Iraq, a joint battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, recognition of Iran's regional position and economic incentives.

In return, Washington hopes Iran will agree to cease uranium enrichment. The U.S. also hopes to rally Russian support for this policy, in return for not deploying an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

However the chances that these international efforts will convince Iran to step down from uranium enrichment are slim. Iran's aim, as the MI chief said Sunday, is to gain time to improve its technological capabilities.

The only chance of Iran not developing nuclear weapons is if Tehran decides on its own to stick to its current achievements.

One might call this a new version of the policy of ambiguity: You know we can do it, and if we want to, we will put together a bomb.

maandag 9 maart 2009

Overzicht humanitaire hulp aan Gazastrook

This week 88 Medical evacuations from Gaza to Israel took place (including escorts), via Erez crossing.
135,000 carnations were exported this week from Gaza to the European market at the request of the Dutch government
Deze zaken worden continu door de media ontkend. Er is dus geen sprake van een totale blokkade, en Israel laat niet alleen alle humanitaire hulp van UNRWA en andere organisaties toe, maar behandelt gewonde Palestijnen uit Gaza in Israelische ziekenhuizen en laat incidenteel exportproducten door.

(Communicated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Spokesman)

Despite ongoing rocket and mortar fire in to Israel, humanitarian crossing activities continued. Throughout the week, 17,402 tons of humanitarian aid, food commodities, medical supplies and medication, supplies for the private and public sectors were transferred to the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom cargo terminal and the Karni conveyor belt.

2,178,000 liters of heavy duty diesel, for the Gaza power station were delivered via Nahal Oz fuel depot. Also, 416 tons of gas for domestic uses was transferred to the Gaza Strip. The ongoing supply of gas for domestic use is reliant on Palestinian demand and is not subject to any limitation by Israel.
This week 88 Medical evacuations from Gaza to Israel took place (including escorts), via Erez crossing.
139,150 tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered to Gaza since the unilateral cease fire. Also, 13,568,900 liters of heavy duty diesel were transferred to Gaza for the power station.
305 truckloads of humanitarian aid were delivered this week by the international community. UNRWA continues to be the largest supplier of aid to the Gaza strip and shipped this week 145 truckloads of goods.
135,000 carnations were exported this week from Gaza to the European market at the request of the Dutch government.
11 trucks from Jordan with supplies required for the Jordanian military field hospital arrived this week via Allenby Bridge and accessed Gaza via Erez Crossing (4.3.2009).
A total of 305 trucks with international aid and donations were shipped this week to Gaza. Donations included basic food commodities, school kits, paper, wheelchairs and other essential items.
Throughout the week a total of 17,402 tons of aid were transferred to the Gaza Strip, including international aid, donations, food supplies, medical supplies, medication, hypochloride, dairy and meat products, various types of grain, vaccines and fodder for livestock. Karni conveyor belt facilitated shipping of 5774 tons of grain. This week, 59% of the goods transferred were at the request of the private sector and 41% were at the request of the international community. Since Monday (2.3.2009), COGAT has implemented at the request of the Dutch Government a mechanism to enable the export of carnations from Gaza to the European market via Kerem Shalom. This week 135,000 carnations were shipped through this mechanism.
Nahal Oz Fuel Depot operated from Sunday - Thursday shipping 2,178,000 liters of heavy duty diesel and 416 tons of domestic gas. Also, 40,000 liters of diesel were transferred to Gaza at the request of UNRWA for operational needs.
For further details, please contact Maj. Peter Lerner at 050-6234053,
03-6977138 or

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

zondag 8 maart 2009

Durban dunnetjes over doen - (Anti) Racisme Conferentie

" [During Durban I] The west, and especially the United States, also came under fierce attack with reparations demanded for the slave trade. Washington's (black) secretary of state, Colin Powell, who was not present, gave some perspective to this by publicly asking whether he would have to pay or be paid."
Anti-Apartheidsaktivist Benjamin Pogrund uit Zuid-Afrika somt hieronder aardig de bezwaren op tegen de koers van de Durban I en Durban II conferenties
Zie ook:
Benjamin Pogrund


The original 2001 UN conference became notorious for its hijack by the 'Zionism is racism' lobby. History threatens to repeat itself

This week, on Thursday, Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini was reported to have announced that his country is pulling out because of the "aggressive and antisemitic statements" in the text. Canada and Israel have already said they will not take part. The United States has withdrawn, saying the draft text is "not salvageable". The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany and Belgium are expressing their worries.

The Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen, told the council this week: "I am deeply disturbed by the turn this event is taking. The thematic world conference is used by some to try to force their concept of defamation of religions and their focus on one regional conflict on all of us."

The references to Israel and the protection of religion in draft texts were unacceptable, he said. "We cannot accept any text which would put religion above individuals, not condemn discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, condone antisemitism or single out Israel."

It all has a horribly familiar ring, except that this time EU nations are lodging their objections in advance. The first World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, was intended as a high point in the battle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. It was an especially proud event for the South African host in celebrating the end of apartheid seven years earlier.

However, problems began in the initial conference of NGOs attended by 4,000 people from many parts of the world. Israel was singled out as the target. It was condemned in resolutions as "the new apartheid", and accused of racism, genocide and much else. A raft of resolutions urged boycotts and its exclusion from the world.

The west, and especially the United States, also came under fierce attack with reparations demanded for the slave trade. Washington's (black) secretary of state, Colin Powell, who was not present, gave some perspective to this by publicly asking whether he would have to pay or be paid.

The NGO resolutions were carried into the succeeding conference of governments (I was a member of the Israeli delegation, invited to join because of my knowledge of apartheid). The extreme wording and the vicious tone at the NGO conference, inside the hall and in the marching and chanting crowds in the streets, proved too much: four days into the eight-day conference, the United States delegation walked out, followed by the Israelis.

The EU also threatened to quit. As the conference became strangled by controversy and was in danger of collapse, the resolutions were rapidly redrafted to excise the ugly references to Israel, leaving only a declaration supporting Palestinians and Israel's existence. The slavery issue disappeared.

In a review last year, the Netherlands-based ICARE (Internet Centre Anti-Racism Europe) noted that both the NGO and government conference "suffered from hate-mongering and extreme politicisation". It said the discrimination against Dalits in India and Roma in Europe had not even featured in the final governmental declaration.

Less than a week after Durban, 9/11 captured the headlines. Anti-racism went onto the backburner. But anger and disappointment about Durban's wild excesses went on simmering and, seven months later, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, spoke bluntly at the annual conference of the country's Zionist Federation. He referred to the "disgraceful events" surrounding the NGO conference and said: "I wish to make it unequivocally clear that the South African government recognises that part of that component was hijacked and used by some with an anti-Israeli agenda to turn it into an antisemitic event." That was precisely why, he added, that the world's governments had refused to accept the NGO resolutions.

When the UN decided to organise a follow-up conference to check the extent of progress against racism, Durban was the elephant in the room. As preparatory meetings got underway last year, it was clear that there was a universal desire to ensure there would not be any repetition of 2001. It was to be called the Durban Review Conference. It was definitely not to be referred to as Durban 2. Initial thoughts of meeting again in South Africa were put aside. The role of NGOs was played down; no money could be found for a separate conference for them.

But the anti-Israel forces began to assert themselves. The attacks increased: Canada saw what was building up and was the first to walk out, nearly a year ago. The "Zionism is racism" claim, long discredited at the UN, was heard again.

The draft resolutions now say that Israel's policy in the Palestinian territories constitutes a "violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a contemporary form of apartheid". Also, Israel poses "a serious threat to international peace and security and violates the basic principles of international human rights law".

In other words, the draft sets out to equate Israel with apartheid South Africa so that it can be declared a pariah state and be made subject to international sanctions.

Together with this, Muslim countries have been pushing for wording to protect Islam from criticism. Angry about Danish newspaper cartoons and films, they want to oulaw any criticism of religion as a violation of human rights. Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said this week that the conference should deal with contemporary forms of racism such as religious profiling and Islamophobia.

The new Obama administration sent two senior officials to attend the meetings preparing for the conference. But a week ago, the State Department announced that the "document being negotiated has gone from bad to worse, and the current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable. A conference based on this text would be a missed opportunity to speak clearly about the persistent problem of racism." It said the US will not take part unless resolutions do not criticise any one country or conflict.

The 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference, aided and abetted by members of the Human Rights Council such as Libya, Iran and Cuba, is pressing ahead.

The UN's chief human rights official, Navi Pillay, is understandably urging all states to attend next month. She warns that the failure of Durban 2 could damage human rights work for years to come. But the omens are not good.



PA premier Fayyad kondigt ontslag aan

Hamas heeft al aangekondigd dat de nieuwe eenheidsregering niet van plan is Israel te erkennen, het 'gewapende verzet' (lees: raketten en aanslagen tegen burgers in Israel) op te geven, of eerder overeenkomsten tussen Israel en de PLO te erkennen. Zie ook: Hamas: Palestijnse eenheidsregering zal Israel niet erkennen .
Dit kan dan ook slechts gezien worden als het einde van een relatief gematigde regering.

Palestinians bid farewell to moderation: Fayyad resigns

Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, was the bright star in Palestinian administration, who patiently went about the task of state building. Now he is resigning, evidently due to Hamas pressure. The new US diplomacy is already paying "dividends."   - A.I.
RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad says he's resigning.
Fayad announced Saturday he submitted his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He says the resignation will take effect after the formation of a Palestinian unity government but no later than the end of March.
The announcement comes just before the resumption of power-sharing talks between Abbas and his rivals from the militant group Hamas.
Fayad was appointed by Abbas after Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. His decision to resign can be seen as a conciliatory gesture toward the militant group: Hamas has repeatedly demanded that Fayad step down.

Israelische Apartheid Week in San Francisco

De vergelijking van Israel met Zuid-Afrika onder het Apartheidsregime is in andere landen nog gebruikelijker dan hier. Zo is er in de VS en Canada een complete Apartheid week georganiseerd aan tientallen universiteiten, gericht op slechts één ding: het delegitimeren van Israel en haar bestaansrecht en goedpraten en ontkennen van alles wat de Palestijnen doen. Ishmail Khaldi, een Druze uit Israel die Israel vertegenwoordigt in San Francisco, legt uit waarom mensen die dergelijke activiteiten organiseren niet bijdragen aan vrede en verzoening maar deze juist tegengaan.
Lost in the blur of slogans
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Last year, at UC Berkeley, I had the opportunity to "dialogue" with some of the organizers of these events. My perspective is unique, both as the vice consul for Israel in San Francisco, and as a Bedouin and the highest-ranking Muslim representing the Israel in the United States. I was born into a Bedouin tribe in Northern Israel, one of 11 children, and began life as shepherd living in our family tent. I went on to serve in the Israeli border police, and later earned a master's degree in political science from Tel Aviv University before joining the Israel Foreign Ministry.

I am a proud Israeli - along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deal honestly. By any yardstick you choose - educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay's rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation - Israel's minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East

So, I would like to share the following with organizers of Israel Apartheid week, for those of them who are open to dialogue and not blinded by a hateful ideology:

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution: If you are really idealistic and committed to a better world, stop with the false rhetoric. We need moderate people to come together in good faith to help find the path to relieve the human suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere.

You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself: You condemn Israel for building a security barrier to protect its citizens from suicide bombers and for striking at buildings from which missiles are launched at its cities - but you never offer an alternative. Aren't you practicing yourself a deep form of racism by denying an entire society the right to defend itself?

Your criticism is willfully hypocritical: Do Israel's Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage - you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available.

You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace: Your radicalism is undermining the forces for peace in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. We are working hard to move toward a peace agreement that recognizes the legitimate rights of both Israel and the Palestinian people, and you are tearing down by falsely vilifying one side.

To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say:

If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty. There are many Arabs, both within Israel and in the Palestinian territories who have taken great courage to walk the path of peace. You should stand with us, rather than against us.

Ishmael Khaldi is deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest.

This article appeared on page A - 11 of the San Francisco Chronicle