Saddam's Death, Page 8
aanval op holistisch eenheidsdenken
Babel, stad van Marduk (de rechtvaardige)
herbouwd door de Pan-Arabist Saddam Hussein
An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
Israel 'weighing Saudi peace deal'
Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak has said the country's leaders are considering a dormant Saudi plan offering comprehensive peace with the Arab world.
Ehud Barak said it was time to pursue an overall peace deal because there was very little progress in individual negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians.
The peace plan - first mooted by Saudi Arabia in 2002 - offers Israel recognition by its Arab neighbours in return for its withdrawal from lands in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights captured during the 1967 Middle East war.
"There is definitely room to introduce a comprehensive Israeli plan to counter the Saudi plan that would be the basis for a discussion on overall regional peace," he told Israel's Army Radio. (Al Jazeera, 20-10-2008)
Eenvoud & Verstarde principes
Geestelijke ontwikkeling is altijd ruimte scheppen. Jezelf inperken - zeggen dat je 'jood' of 'moslim' bent bijvoorbeeld - is de dood van de geest.
God mag niet uitgesproken worden. Joden noemen hem G'd. Moslims noemen hem de Gezichtsloze. Maar de woorden 'Jood' en 'Moslim' mogen wel uitgesproken worden. Absurd. Noem jezelf 'Mens'. Want wanneer je dat doet heb je eindelijk begrepen wat geestelijke ontwikkeling is. Geen dogma's scheppen, maar dogma's - ook religieuze dogma's - de wereld uit helpen.
"Daarom zeg Ik u: Alle zonde en lastering zal de mensen vergeven worden; maar de lastering tegen de Geest zal de mensen niet vergeven worden." (Mattheüs 12:31)
"Zionism itself was born in a paradox: it arose at precisely the moment in which Jews were granted equal rights with all the other peoples of Europe. But it wished to separate itself from that same European entity in its search for national self-expression." (David Ohanna - Sane and democratic zionism)
"De Israëlische president Moshe Katsav heeft de Saudische kroonprins Abdallah bin Abdul Aziz uitgenodigd naar Jeruzalem om diens vredesinitiatief te bespreken. Katsav is ook bereid naar Riyad te reizen voor overleg. Dat maakte Katsavs bureau maandag bekend.
De kroonprins, die feitelijk Saudi-Arabië leidt ten gevolge van de ziekte van koning Fahd, maakte eerder deze maand in The New York Times bekend dat de Arabische wereld de banden met Israël zou moeten normaliseren als Israël zich volledig terugtrekt uit de gebieden die het heeft veroverd in 1967. Dat betekent het opgeven van de Westelijke Jordaanoever, de Gazastrook en Oost-Jeruzalem.
Een medewerker van premier Ariel Sharon heeft het plan maandag een ,,positieve trend'' genoemd. Maar Gideon Saar, secretaris van het Israëlische kabinet, zei ook dat Israël niet wil voldoen aan de voorwaarde om zich terug te trekken achter de grenzen van voor de oorlog van 1967. (De Standaard, 26-2-2002)
Vrede is volgens de Arabieren heel simpel: Israël trekt zich terug uit alle bezette gebieden - geeft daarmee aan dat het breekt met de ouderwetse zionistische machtsdroom, waarvan Ariel Sharon de vertegenwoordiger is - en in ruil daarvoor ondertekenen alle Arabische landen een vredesverdrag met de staat Israël, zodat de aandacht gericht kan worden op politieke en economische samenwerking, in plaats van op het vernietigen van de regio.
Alle Arabische landen (inclusief Irak) zijn het eens met die simpele oplossing. Alleen Israël niet. Israël weigert als moderne natie het ouderwetse, primitieve bijgeloof overboord te zetten, dat van joden mensen maakt die niet voor eenvoudige, op gelijkheid gerichte menselijkheid mogen kiezen.
Ariel Sharon is de man van het verleden. Hem moet duidelijk worden gemaakt dat kiezen voor de toekomst breken met het verleden is. Dat is de eenvoud die de Arabische landen verlangen.
De vraag is waarom Arabische landen zelf niet kiezen voor de eenvoud. Breken met een primitief verleden dus. Alle ideologische verschillen opzij zetten en kiezen voor economische en politieke samenwerking, waarbij zaken als ouderwetse, tegen samenwerking gerichte geloofsvoorschriften en onpractische, bureaucratische en dictatoriale gezagsstructuren heel simpel overboord worden gezet.
Als het leven toch zo simpel is.....
Het zal duidelijk zijn dat eenvoud minder eenvoudig is dan we denken. Eenvoud eist het erkennen van de waarheid, het afstand doen van de leugen en het onder ogen zien van de eigen verantwoordelijkheid. Israël heeft nooit zoiets gekend als schuldgevoel. Voor het eerst in de geschiedenis zouden joden het probleem van de eigen schuld onder ogen moeten gaan zien.
Oorlog was alleen maar een middel om de schuldvraag te omzeilen. Door het demoniseren van de ander blijf je zelf altijd onschuldig.
November 16, 2008
Barack Obama links Israel peace plan to 1967 borders deal
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Sarah Baxter
Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.
Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party.
The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.
The Arab peace plan received a boost last week when President Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate and leading Israeli dove, commended the initiative at a Saudi-sponsored United Nations conference in New York.
Peres was loudly applauded for telling King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who was behind the original initiative: “I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people.”
A bipartisan group of senior foreign policy advisers urged Obama to give the Arab plan top priority immediately after his election victory. (TimesOnline)
Arab News Editorial
One year after Annapolis meet - 15 December 2008
If nobody took President Bush’s one-year deadline for Mideast peace, announced at the Annapolis conference in November last year, seriously it was not because of the limited time and sheer intractability of the issues like the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the exact borders of a Palestinian state. The fact is that nobody, at least in the Arab world, believed that the Bush administration was serious in its intentions.
Events have proved them right. After more than 250 meetings between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, we are just now getting a glimpse of what has been happening once the handshakes were over and the doors closed.
After chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qorei spoke for the first time in detail about the yearlong talks, we know why the talks have failed to produce an agreement. Nothing of what Israel has offered is acceptable to Arabs or nothing has convinced Israel that the Bush administration expects them to offer anything that would be acceptable to Arabs. Israel’s initial proposal to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank, which was then reduced to 6.8 percent, is totally unacceptable. The Israeli offer to give some of its own territory as compensation is not an equal trade in size and quality. More important, some of the areas Israel wants to annex are crucial to a viable Palestinian state envisioned as the goal of the peace negotiations.
Israel’s offer to allow 5,000 Palestinian refugees over five years is a slap in the face even though the Palestinians are not seeking the return of all refugees and their descendants, a group that numbers several million.
If the US was serious about peace, it should have stopped Israel constructing more Jewish settlements. Since Annapolis work has begun on some 1,200 new homes in the occupied territories.
And on Jerusalem, the only reply Israel could give to the Palestinian demand that the city be the capital of their state was a “no comment.”
Let us hope the Obama administration would make a difference to this all too depressing situation. (ArabNews Website)
Airstrikes in Gaza
This statement was issued in response to Israel's attack in Gaza by Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories and a longtime member of the Nation editorial board.
27 December 2008
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include:
* Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.
* Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.
Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza's besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.
Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right, neither as the Occupying Power nor as a sovereign state, to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response. I note that Israel's escalating military assaults have not made Israeli civilians safer; to the contrary, the one Israeli killed today after the upsurge of Israeli violence is the first in over a year.
I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move on an emergency basis not only to condemn Israel's serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people. (The Nation, 28-12-2008)
Obama Should Engage Now for Middle East Peace
posted by John Nichols on 12/29/2008 @ 12:43am
Israeli attacks on Palestinian targets on the Gaza strip have taken an estimated 300 lives over the course of the past several days, and the death toll is mounting rapidly. Dozens of children have been killed, confirming that there is nothing "surgical" about this assault. Most U.S. media coverage portrays a simple struggle between Israelis on the one side and Gaza's Hamas militants on the other. This is the line that is being advanced aggressively by the Bush administration and that has effectively been accepted by President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, which is maintaining its "Bush speaks for the U.S. until January 20" line even as the crisis mounts. Following Bush's lead, Obama has refused to call for a more nuanced and effective U.S. response to an escalation of the Middle East conflict that Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghouti on Sunday described as the worst since the 1967 war in the region.
Obama and his aides should be openly counseling the Bush administration to use every diplomatic avenue to promote a ceasefire and, above all, to urge against an Israeli invasion and occupation of Gaza. Unfortunately, the president-elect is doing nothing of the sort. (The Nation, 29-12-2008)
Violence and Lies. What, Exactly, is Israel's Mission?
By NEVE GORDON
"...The government is actively misleading the public. ... Israel could have put an end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed, there was relative quiet during the six-months truce with Hamas, a quiet that was broken most often as a reaction to Israeli violence: that is, following the extra-judicial execution of a militant or the imposition of a total blockade which prevented basic goods, like food stuff and medicine, from entering the Gaza Strip.
Rather than continuing the truce, the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt strategies of violence that are tragically akin to the one’s deployed by Hamas, only the Israeli ones are much more lethal.
If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the country’s long term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would abandon the use of violence and talk with its enemies. (CounterPunch, 29-12-2008)
Neve Gordon is the chair of the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored
By Robert Fisk
We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care anymore—providing we don’t offend the Israelis. It’s not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel’s side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs—who, as we all know, only understand force.
Ever since 1948, we’ve been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis—just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist “death wagon” will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be “liberated”. ...
“Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” Barak said.
By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli. ...
Quite a lot of the dead [..] appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: “Wow, this blitz is awesome— we’d better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American ‘peace process’ in the Middle East!” Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do? ...
Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word. (TruthDig, 29-12-2008)
Eine Kleine Nacht Murder
By Gilad Atzmon
In order to grasp the latest devastating murderous Israeli expedition in Gaza one must deeply comprehend the Israeli identity and its inherent hatred towards anyone who fails to be Jewish and a hatred against Arabs in particular. This hatred is imbued in the Israeli curriculum, it is preached by political leaders and implied by their acts, it is conveyed by cultural figures, even within the so-called ‘Israeli Left’.
I grew up in Israel in the 1970’s people of my generation are nowadays the leaders of the Israeli army, politics, economy, academia and the arts. We were trained to believe that ‘a good Arab is a dead one’. ...
Luckily enough, and for reasons that are still far beyond my comprehension, at a certain stage I woke up out of that Hebraic lethal dream. At one point I left the Jewish state, I evaded the Jewish hate mongering, I had become an opponent of the Jewish state and any other form of Jewish politics.
As much as Zionism was there to transform Jews, and by “giving them a State of their own” make them like any other people, it failed miserably. The Israeli barbarism as we have seen this week and too many times before is far beyond bestiality. It is killing for the sake of killing. And it is indiscriminate. ...
... Israelis are not known for mercy and grace. Instead they are appeased by retaliation and vengeance, they are cheered by their own limitless brutality. When an Ex-Israeli Air Force Chief Commander Dan Halutz was asked how it feels to drop a bomb on a highly populated neighbourhood in Gaza, his answer was short and precise. ‘It feels like a light bump on the right wing’. ...
Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi are giving the Israeli people that which they want: it is called Arab blood and it must come in vast quantity. This repetitive murderous practice, conducted by Israeli politicians reflects on the Israeli people as a whole rather than just a few politicians and generals. We are dealing here with a barbarian society that is politically driven by bloodthirstiness and lethal inclinations.
Why the Israeli are people so remote from any notion of humanism is a big question. The generous and naïve humanists amongst us may argue that the Shoah left a big scar in the Israeli soul. ...
The realistic amongst us do not buy this argument anymore. They start now to admit that it is more than possible that the Israelis are so incredibly brutal just because this is how they are. ... The realistic amongst us come to admit that killing is how the Israelis interpret the meaning of being Jewish. (Palestine Think Tank, 29-12-2008)
Bush, Obama and the Gaza Blitz
By Patrick J. Buchanan
For eight years, like the "dummy" in a hand of bridge, Bush has sat mute as his Israeli partner, Sharon or Olmert, played America's cards as well as their own. The Bush response to Saturday's carnage, as anticipated, was to blame Hamas for causing it and urge Israelis to be careful about civilian casualties as they go about their reprisals.
Whatever Israel decides, we support. For eight years that has been the most reliable guide to U.S. Middle East policy.
And Barack Obama? Forty-eight hours after the Israeli blitz began, he and his national security team remain silent.
Hopefully, Obama will bring with him a new Mideast policy, one made in the U.S.A., for the U.S.A. Hopefully, just as Israel has its private links to Syria through Turkey, to Hamas through Egypt and to Hezbollah, Obama will establish independent U.S. channels to all three, and adopt a separate U.S. policy toward all three, as Israel does. (Buchanan Archive, 29-12-2008)
Netanyahu: The Era of Weakness is about to End
"A Likud government led by me will restore security to the people of Israel, will restore pride and determination to our policies. We will stand decisively for a united Jerusalem and defensible borders in every diplomatic arena. We will not agree to have a single refugee from 1948 enter the sovereign state of Israel, not to Ashkelon, not to Jaffa, not to Acre, or any other place". "The era of weakness is about to end, and it will me my friends and I in the Likud who put an end to it and restore security to the people of Israel", Netanyahu concluded.
Netanyahu responded to reporter's questions about Israel's conduct towards Hamas: "We will change the situation in Gaza by changing our strategy from being passive to being active.
America’s doctrine of “full spectrum dominance” means that, like Lenin’s dictatorship, America is not bound by law or morality, but by power alone.
Harold Pinter sums it up in a speech he had dreams of writing for President George W. Bush:
“God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden’s God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam’s God was bad, except he didn’t have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don’t chop people’s heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don’t you forget it.”
If only our ears could hear, this is the speech we have been hearing from Israel for 60 years.
ISRAEL will not stop its Gaza onslaught until Hamas is smashed once and for all.
That was the pledge from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni yesterday as the Palestinian death toll soared to 360.
"There is a time for ceasefires and a time to fight - and now is the time to fight," said Defence Minister Ehud Barak as Israeli warplanes yesterday (Tuesday) bombed military targets in Gaza for the fourth day.
More than 100 fighter jets and attack helicopters dropped dozens of smart bombs and hundreds of tons of explosives on Hamas training camps, headquarters, weapons storehouses and underground missile silos.
Hamas police chief Major-General Tawfik Jaber was among the dead. And Livni said Hamas' political leaders, who have fled underground, could soon be targeted. "Hamas is a terrorist organisation and nobody is immune," she declared.
Premier Ehud Olmert said: "We do not rejoice in battle, but neither will we be deterred from it."
Israeli tanks were ordered south from the Golan Heights. And Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel overthrew the Hamas government. "The people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government," a top official added. (Jewish Telegraph, 31-12-2008)
What was the aim? Tzipi Livni announced it openly: to liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza. The Qassams served only as a pretext.
Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”
For years, the occupation authorities favored the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the PLO was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.
With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the Islamic movement officially renamed itself Hamas (Arabic initials of “Islamic Resistance Movement”) and joined the fight. Even then, the Shin-Bet took no action against them for almost a year, while Fatah members were executed or imprisoned in large numbers. Only after a year, were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his colleagues also arrested.
Since then the wheel has turned. Hamas has now become the current Satan, and the PLO is considered by many in Israel almost as a branch of the Zionist organization. (Palestine Chronicle, 1-1-2009)
Unmentioned Casualties of the Gaza Massacre
By Abu Yussef
The Israeli sea and air bombardment of the Gaza Strip has done more than decimate the already suffering inhabitants of the world’s largest prison; it has led to a number of other important casualties that the press has failed to mention amidst the chaos and death of the last few days.
1. The first casualty has been Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. His attempt to walk the thin line between American and Israeli dictates on the one hand, and the needs and wants of the Palestinians on the other, has gone up in flames.
At best he now looks incompetent and weak; in the worst light some are already calling him a ‘spy’ or ‘traitor’. It is unclear now, how he will receive the legitimate support to extend his Presidential mandate in the coming weeks as he can no longer even claim to be able to deliver peace through negotiations in the near terms, nor represent the Palestinian people.
2. The second casualty has been the prospects for Palestinian unity in the near future. Relations and rhetoric between the two main rival political factions has hit an all-time low, with Hamas even vowing to target PA leaders right alongside those of the Israelis.
3. With the political death of Abu Mazen, and the prospects for national unity shelved, the third casualty of the massacre will be the US-brokered Annapolis Peace Process. (Palestine Monitor, 30-12-2008)
Juan Cole, Friday, January 02, 2009
Bombing Refugee Camps in Gaza Instead of Paying the Refugees Reparations
The news keeps reporting that the Israeli air force bombed refugee camps in Gaza.
Did you ever wonder how those refugee camps got to be in Gaza? Cont'd . . .
I mean, where are they refugees from? There didn't used to be refugees in Gaza, before 1948, after all. The grandparents of today's refugees were living in their own homes, which their ancestors had lived in for centuries if not millennia.
After Germany created Jewish refugees in WW II, it was made to pay reparations to the victims, right?
Israel hasn't paid a dime to any of the Palestinian families it expelled in 1948, which is itself a violation of international law. (Juan Cole website)
Update: Israel continued to bomb Gaza on day 7 of blitz. The airstrikes continued Friday morning.
Moderate's power base shattered by onslaught
RAMALLAH: Hamas's star is rising among Palestinians as each new Israeli bomb falls on Gaza, while Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas is becoming increasingly isolated, analysts say.
The moderate Mr Abbas, who lost control of Gaza when the Islamists seized it last year from forces loyal to him, has been accused by Hamas and others of seeking to retake power in the enclave with Israeli complicity.
Mr Abbas has called for an immediate halt to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, but his pleas have been overshadowed by gory images of casualties and of protests across the Arab world broadcast on Arab television, particularly al-Jazeera.
At the same time, Hamas is using its own al-Aqsa television and internet site to mount a propaganda campaign against Mr Abbas, regularly showing footage of him with Israeli leaders.
Growing numbers of Palestinians view Hamas as the cutting edge of resistance against Israel, while Mr Abbas and foreign governments, particularly that of Egypt, are seen as having given in to the Jewish state. (The Australian, 2-1-2009)
Outside international law
by Eyad El-Sarraj
Wisdom tells us that violence can only breed violence. Israel's brutality guarantees that its people will not be secure. Israel may destroy much and kill many in Hamas, but that is not the solution. Hamas was born because of the occupation and won the democratic elections in 2006 because of false promises of peace and people's disillusionment with the Palestinian Authority.
Israel and its allies should address Palestinian grievances instead of aggravating them by denying justice and security and by violating basic human rights. Most of the Palestinians in Gaza are here because they were expelled in 1948 when Israel was created. Since then, we have not had a day of freedom or of equal rights with Israelis. We can barely feed our children or provide them with medicine, because Israel controls everything that goes in and out.
From where I sit, in the middle of this barrage of bombing, Israel looks to be increasingly living outside the norms of the world community and outside international law... (Palestine Chronicle, 3-1-2009)
Thou shalt not speak ill of Israel
It's not at all surprising, then, that Republican leaders -- from Dick Cheney and John Bolton to virtually all appendages of the right-wing noise machine, from talk radio and Fox News to right-wing blogs and neoconservative journals -- are unquestioning supporters of the Israeli attack. After all, they're expressing the core ideology of the overwhelming majority of their voters and audience.
Much more notable is the fact that Democratic Party leaders -- including Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- are just as lockstep in their blind, uncritical support for the Israeli attack, in their absolute refusal to utter a word of criticism of, or even reservations about, Israeli actions. While some Democratic politicians who are marginalized by the party's leadership are willing to express the views which Democratic voters overwhelmingly embrace, the suffocating, fully bipartisan orthodoxy which typically predominates in America when it comes to Israel -- thou shalt not speak ill of Israel, thou shalt support all actions it takes -- is in full force with this latest conflict. (www.salon.com, 2-1-2009)
Blair to accept top US medal
Stephen Bates, The Guardian, 6 January 2009
Tony Blair is to receive the United States's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from his friend George Bush next Tuesday, at a White House ceremony during the latter's last week in office.
The medal, a five-pointed white star, was first introduced by President Harry Truman just after the second world war and later revived to reward eminent citizens for distinguished service in peacetime by president John F Kennedy.
The medal is awarded "for especially meritorious contributions to security or the national interests of the United States, world peace or cultural or other significant public or private endeavours".
He will receive next week's award alongside John Howard, the former Australian prime minister, and Álvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia. A White House spokeswoman said the three were being honoured by the president "for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad". (The Guardian website)
President Mubarak reiterates Egypt's full backing for the Palestinian cause
President Hosni Mubarak denounced in no uncertain terms the Israeli onslaught against the hapless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the first official statement by an Arab leader on the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza taking place at Egypt's eastern doorstep. "Palestinian blood is neither cheap nor free for all," Mubarak warned.
However, President Mubarak admonished the leadership of Hamas for escalating tensions with Israel and displaying little or no flexibility in resolving the Palestinian crisis.
The President called for the immediate and unconditional halt of the Israeli aggression against Gaza. He said that the hands of the Israeli leaders are blood-stained and urged the Palestinians to close ranks and unite. He stressed that Egypt's support for the Palestinian cause is a cornerstone of its foreign policy and cannot be doubted, in clear reference to the detractors of Egypt's Palestinian policy.
Mubarak also emphasised that Egypt totally rejects the conspiracy designed to divide the Palestinians of the West Bank from those in Gaza. Egypt backs Palestinian unity.
(Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-1-2009)
"I don’t think international law should be trivialized"
What does the record show? The record shows for the past twenty or more years, the entire international community has sought to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border with a just resolution of the refugee question. Are all 164 nations of the United Nations the rejectionists? And are the only people in favor of peace the United States, Israel, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Australia? Who are the rejectionists? Who’s opposing a peace?
The record shows that in every crucial issue raised at Camp David, then under the Clinton parameters, and then in Taba, at every single point, all the concessions came from the Palestinians. Israel didn’t make any concessions. Every concession came from the Palestinians. The Palestinians have repeatedly expressed a willingness to settle the conflict in accordance with international law.
The law is very clear. July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, ruled Israel has no title to any of the West Bank and any of Gaza. They have no title to Jerusalem. Arab East Jerusalem, according to the highest judicial body in the world, is occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice ruled all the settlements, all the settlements in the West Bank, are illegal under international law.
Now, the important point is, on all those questions, the Palestinians were willing to make concessions. They made all the concessions. Israel didn’t make any concessions.
I think it’s fairly clear what needs to happen. Number one, the United States and Israel have to join the rest of the international community, have to abide by international law. I don’t think international law should be trivialized... (Middle East Online, 10-1-2009)
War is the realm of lies
By Uri Avnery - 10 januari 2009
War every war is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one's country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.
The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions. ....
... Every baby metamorphosed, in the act of dying, into a Hamas terrorist. Every bombed mosque instantly became a Hamas base, every apartment building an arms cache, every school a terror command post, every civilian government building a "symbol of Hamas rule". Thus the Israeli army retained its purity as the "most moral army in the world".
THE TRUTH is that the atrocities are a direct result of the war plan. This reflects the personality of Ehud Barak a man whose way of thinking and actions are clear evidence of what is called "moral insanity", a sociopathic disorder.
The real aim (apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign country. The reality is, of course, entirely different.
The Hamas movement won the majority of the votes in the eminently democratic elections that took place in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It won because the Palestinians had come to the conclusion that Fatah's peaceful approach had gained precisely nothing from Israel - neither a freeze of the settlements, nor release of the prisoners, nor any significant steps toward ending the occupation and creating the Palestinian state.
From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other Palestinian regions. (www.rense.com)
"... a lie is the truth..."
IN THIS WAR, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.
Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government (“The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets”) has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.
Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.
True, Western and Israeli TV channels showed only a tiny fraction of the dreadful events that appear 24 hours every day on Aljazeera’s Arabic channel, but one picture of a dead baby in the arms of its terrified father is more powerful than a thousand elegantly constructed sentences from the Israeli army spokesman. And that is what is decisive, in the end.
War – every war – is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one’s country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.
The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions. (Uri Avnery, 12-1-2009)
Saudi slams Israel's 'racist extermination' war
RIYADH - Saudi Arabia on Monday denounced Israel for its "racist extermination" war on Palestinians in Gaza, and demanded international action to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the territory.
In a statement after its weekly meeting under the chairmanship of King Abdullah, the cabinet said the 17-day-old offensive "was stripping Israeli leaders of their humanity."
Leaders of Israel were "placing their policies among those of racist extermination," it said in the statement released by the official SPA news agency.
It said it was "optimistic" about US president-elect Barack Obama's pledge to put in place a team that can commit "immediately" to the Middle East peace process, after his inauguration on January 20.
Riyadh expected the incoming US administration to show "more seriousness, objectivity and independence in dealing with Palestinian affairs," the statement added. (Middle East Online, 14-1-2009)
JUAN COLE, January 14, 2009
Clinton's Pragmatism, Multilateralism Welcomed in Muslim World
Hillary Clinton at her confirmation hearing for Secretary of State said in her opening remarks,
' The president-elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology, on facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today's world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming facts of our interdependence.
I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The Ancient Roman poet Terence declared that "In every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first." The same truth binds wise women as well. ' (Cole website)
(NB: Probleemzin is: "I believe that American leadership .. is still wanted". Problematisch, omdat Israel en Amerika zichzelf nog altijd zien als een onafscheidelijke eenheid..., hetgeen betekent dat MACHT boven RECHT wordt geplaatst. Het feit dat vrijwel het gehele Amerikaanse congres de oorlogsmisdaden van Israel 'goed' keurde bewijst dat pragmatisme - de zaak van het recht op koele, faire wijze dienen in dit geval - binnen de Amerikaanse politiek niet gezien wordt als een deugd).
Nation sheds no tear as Bush bids farewell
Barbara Ferguson - Arab News
WASHINGTON: As President George W. Bush said farewell to the country Thursday night, many wonder how history will remember the forty-third president and what his legacy will be.
In his final address to the nation, Bush said that while he experienced some setbacks during his turbulent eight years in office: "I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right."
He leaves office with approval ratings not seen since the days of Richard Nixon. In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Bush had a 27 percent approval rating. Some 67 percent of those polled disapproved of his conduct of the office.
Bush leaves behind two unfinished wars and an economy in turmoil, and he warned in his speech of tough times ahead. The president who came to office vowing to be a "uniter not a divider" alluded to the deep partisan divisions that marked his eight years in office. But he said he hoped the American people would remember him as a man who stayed true to his principles. ...
The speech will be Bush's last appearance in public until Tuesday, when he turns the Oval Office over to his successor, Barack Obama.
Bush left Friday for Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. He will spend the weekend there with his family and a handful of aides, including Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state; Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff; and Stephen Hadley, his national security adviser. (Arab News, 17-1-2009)
Israel destroys, Saudi rebuilds
Saudi King donates one billion dollars to rebuild Gaza, calls for putting end to Arab rifts
KUWAIT CITY - Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Monday announced the donation of one billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza and called for putting an end to Arab differences.
"On behalf of the Saudi people, I declare the donation of one billion dollars for programmes to rebuild Gaza," the Saudi monarch said at the opening session of an Arab summit in Kuwait.
"We have to overcome Arab political differences that led to a division in the Arab ranks which can be exploited by those who want to achieve their regional ambitions" King Abdullah said.
He also warned that the Arab peace initiative "will not remain on the table forever." (Middle East Online, 20-1-2009)
King’s call ‘heralds a new era of unity’
P.K. Abdul Ghafour - Arab News, 21-1-2009
JEDDAH: Arab leaders yesterday lauded the historic speech made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at the Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait, saying it heralds a new era of Arab unity and solidarity.
In his impassionate and inspiring speech, the Saudi king said: “Allow me to announce in all our names that we have overcome the period of disunity, opening the door of Arab brotherhood, and that of unity for all Arabs without exception or reservation, and that we will face the future with total unity and without any discord.”
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said King Abdullah’s speech reflected his strong desire to strengthen Arab unity. ...
He praised King Abdullah for taking the initiative to patch up differences among Arab leaders. He was referring to a meeting that brought together King Abdullah, President Bashar Assad of Syria, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and King Abdallah of Jordan at the king’s residence in Kuwait on Monday.
Palestinian leader Saeb Erekat said the unity of Arab countries would strengthen the Palestinian cause and contribute to a successful dialogue between the Palestinian factions. “We hope the Arab summit in Kuwait would open a new chapter in inter-Arab relations and strengthen our unity to influence world opinion.”
In his speech King Abdullah told Palestinians that their internal dispute is more threatening to their cause than the Israeli invasion. He said Arab disunity and dissension were aiding the treacherous Israeli enemy and those who seek to disunite the Arabs for their regional objectives. (Arab News Website)
Patrick J. Buchanan - "It won't work"
Three months before launching the Gaza war, Olmert told two journalists that Israel, to achieve lasting peace, would have to return the Golan Heights to Syria and almost all of the West Bank to the Palestinians, and give East Jerusalem back to the Arabs who live there.
"In the end, we will have to withdraw from the lion's share of the territories, and for the territories we leave in our hands, we will have to give compensation in the form of territories within the state of Israel at a ratio that is more or less 1:1."
"Whoever wants to hold on to all of (Jerusalem) will have to bring 270,000 Arabs inside the fences of sovereign Israel. It won't work."
No, it won't.
Like Rabin in 1994 and Barack in 2000, two of the most decorated soldiers in Israel's history, Olmert had concluded, late in life, that it is either land for peace, with all its risks, or endless war for Israel.
Yet, after that interview, he launched the December blitz and invaded Gaza, killing and wounding 5,000 Palestinians, making of the Strip a zone of permanent hatred and making Hamas, whom he sought to dethrone and undeniably wounded, even stronger.
Enraged that Hamas was not destroyed or disarmed, Israelis are leaning toward the Likud Party of "Bibi" Netanyahu, who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza, opposes a withdrawal from the West Bank, will never share Jerusalem and calls Gaza "Hamastan."
Should he win, a Bibi-Barack collision appears inevitable. Backing Bibi will be the Israeli lobby, the Evangelicals, the neocons and a Congress that could find only five members to oppose a resolution endorsing all the Israelis had done and were doing to the people of Gaza... (VDare.com, 26-1-2009)
The Likud Charter
On Palestinian self-rule it says:
"The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs."
"Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem, including the plan to divide the city presented to the Knesset by the Arab factions and supported by many members of Labor and Meretz." (Palestine Chronicle, 31-1-2009)
Abbas: We will prove Israeli war crimes
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Tuesday to take a tough stance in talks with Israel and said he would tell a US envoy that Israel's Gaza offensive proved it was not intent on peacemaking.
Abbas also said he would back international efforts to prosecute Israel for war crimes. "We will do all we can to prove Israel committed crimes that would make your skin crawl," Abbas said, referring to the Geneva Conventions. "We want the world to give us justice for once."
"Israel does not want peace, otherwise it would not have done this. We need to understand this and tell it to those coming from Europe and America. Israel wants to waste time to strengthen facts on the ground with settlements and the wall." (YETNET, 28-1-2009)
Kingdom asks Palestinians to be realistic
Arab News, 2-2-2009
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia yesterday urged the Palestinians to adopt a new and realistic concept of resistance that would realize their unity, strengthen their legitimate organizations, protect their lives and properties and ensure their legitimate rights. ...
The Council of Ministers, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, also emphasized the need to strengthen Arab unity and cautioned against certain countries that hide their regional ambitions under the cover of supporting Arab and Muslim causes. ...
The Cabinet told Palestinian factions that there was no option except their unity. It also gave a new direction to Arab and Islamic communities, saying they should follow the way of economic, social and cultural development, stick to the highest Islamic goals and be ready to have dialogue with other cultures and peoples. (Arab News-Abdoul Ghafour)
Moussa appeals for Arab unity
Khaled Al-Mahdi - Arab News
SANAA: Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa began yesterday a regional tour in response to the call made last month by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for Arab unity and solidarity.
“This tour is intended to discuss ways to revive the Arab solidarity in light of the call made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah during the Kuwait summit,” Moussa told reporters. During the Kuwait summit last month, Abdullah urged Arab leaders to open a new era of Arab unity and solidarity. The king said Arab disunity and dissension were aiding the treacherous Israeli enemy and those who seek to disunite the Arabs for their regional objectives. (Arab News, 8-2-2009)
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