Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Israeli authorities have prevented a senior UN human rights official from entering the country, accusing him of being seriously biased against it.
Israel has been angered by a series of comments by Richard Falk accusing it of war crimes and comparing its actions in Gaza to Nazi Germany in WWII.
Mr Falk was stopped at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday and sent back to the United States on Monday morning.An official accused him of following a distorted, anti-Israeli mandate.
"For several weeks now our people in Gaza have been living under a comprehensive siege," Nasrallah said, "according to Israel's recent statements, there is no chance this blockade will be lifted anytime soon."
The Hizbullah leader said that beginning Friday the Shiite group will hold a series of rallies in support of the Palestinians and to call for bringing an end to the Israeli siege on the Hamas-controlled territory by opening the Egypt-Gaza border.
AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.
“We had one meal today - khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”
Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
By Gideon Levy
The elections for the 17th Knesset have already been decided: Benjamin Netanyahu will be the next prime minister. Nothing will change the current trend, which was reflected in polls this weekend. At a time when the entire world, including Israel, is amazed and moved by the miracle election of Barack Obama, Israel is on the verge of electing George Bush.
Tzipi Livni will not become less feeble, and Ehud Barak will not fix his waywardness. And the new left-wing party in the works will not make a difference one way or the other - it is too little, too late. Israelis intend to vote for the conservative, right-wing, nationalist, bellicose candidate - the Israeli Bush. The world is moving forward, while Israel is taking a step backward.
Netanyahu may not be as awful as it would appear for the left, but the sweeping support he enjoys in the polls signals to us and to the world, including the Arab world, the true nature of Israeli society. Good riddance to the deceptive myth that most Israelis want peace; you can forget about all the deceitful polls that showed most of the public supports a two-state solution. No solution and no two states, but only the truth, which once again has been exposed: a nationalistic, belligerent society electing its spitting image as its leader.
Once every few years we have this referendum over the future of peace and the occupation, the main issue in every election campaign. Once every few years, the left is revealed to be as virtual a force as there ever was. Candidates bicker among themselves over who will "divide" and who will "return," who will "concede" and who will "give" - questions that are downright immoral given that the discussion is over territories that are not ours.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Just go to www.livestation.com and download the free software, from there search away!!
There is quite alot of decent media streaming available, stations such as Aljazeera Int., NPR, BBC Arabic, Al Manar and Russian TV are some just too name a few.... check it!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Israel has imposed a virtual news blackout on the Gaza Strip. For the last ten days no foreign journalists have been able to enter the besieged territory to report on the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by Israel's complete closure of Gaza's borders for the last two weeks.
Steve Gutkin, the AP bureau chief in Jerusalem and head of Israel's Foreign Press Association, said that he personally "knows of no foreign journalist that has been allowed into Gaza in the last week."
Gutkin said that "while Israel has barred foreign press from entering Gaza in the past, the length of the current ban makes it unprecedented." He added that he has received no "plausible or acceptable" explanation for the ban from the Israeli government.
AP has relied on reports from two of its journalists who were able to enter Gaza days before the closure began and are currently stuck there.
A delegation of European Union parliamentarians was also prevented from entering Gaza to assess the situation on the ground and to hold talks with Hamas leaders. They subsequently broke the naval siege of Gaza by entering the coast's territorial waters from Cyprus by boat, defying the Israeli navy.
During talks held with Hamas, the EU parliamentarians were able to get a historic commitment from the Islamic organisation to recognise Israel's right to exist within the internationally recognised 1967 borders. Hamas further offered a long-term ceasefire in return for Israel legitimising Palestinian rights.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The UN warns that it is running out of food to distribute in Gaza, putting the civilian population there at severe risk, as a direct result of an Israeli food blockade.
A food blockade? That is a war crime! Why aren't the people ordering the malnourishment of a civilian population under foreign military occupation being arrested and taken to the Hague for trial?
I mean, people in the US are routinely arrested for animal abuse because they kept their pets malnourished. Wouldn't it be a crime to do that to Palestinian children?
Monday, November 10, 2008
At a recent conference I was repeatedly asked about the prospects for a third Palestinian uprising, or Intifada. The question, although seemingly uncomplicated, is both loaded and important, and cannot be answered in a mere two minutes or less.
A 'third Intifada' would imply that the second has already ended. But has it? Or did it simply lose momentum, sense of focus and direction, or were its energies squandered - as a popular uprising - on factional disputes and internal division?
Some of its initial leaders are no longer involved, and a cohesive uprising cannot exist if too many of its players have switched sides, changed roles, or are absent altogether. To approach this subject more practically, the first Intifada in 1987 must be thoroughly scrutinized.
Citizens in the Gaza Strip are bracing for more electricity blackouts after Israel cut off fuel shipments to the territory's only power plant.
Israel has closed crossings into Gaza, making it likely that electricity would be completely cut off in the territory from about 1600 GMT, Palestinian officials said.
Israel's defence ministry closed the crossings on Sunday after Palestinian fighters fired rockets into southern Israel. No one was hurt in the attack.
"More than 30 per cent of the electricity supply in the Gaza Strip could not be guaranteed this evening," Jamal al-Kudari, head of a committee campaigning to end Israeli sanctions, said on Sunday.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Dear Mr. Barack Obama
We take the opportunity to congratulate you for being elected for the presidency of the presently mightiest military power and thus most influential political post in the world.
We are sure that a man of your caliber and intelligence who was able to overcome the doubt to achieve a big victory in spite of the old inherent prejudice against electing an Afro-American to lead the American people during at least the coming four years.
Mr. President Elect, we are sure that you are aware that your emulator to the post, as is evident, requested the outgoing president not to openly extend support to him in the presidential election campaign, though they belong to the same political party, because he was afraid that Mr. Bush’s reputation would smear his and strongly affect his chances of winning the post as a Republican candidate; which had actually strongly contributed to his failure, which is simply a result of the foolish, both internal and international, policy the outgoing regime had followed, which caused unprecedented global tragedies, especially as a result its directly waged wars - as is the case against Iraq and Afghanistan - and threat to wage other wars, and indirectly by supporting the rogue states, the outstanding example of which is the Zionist state of Israel, with its continuous wars against the indigenous Arab population of Palestine, and other Arab states especially during the 2006 war against Lebanon, and Israel’s role in the devastating war against Iraq. Also its continuous pressure on your nation to wage a war against the far away Iran on the pretence of developing atomic energy, forgetting that it is indeed Israel that is the only state in the region with an atomic bombs arsenal. We are sure that one of the main causes of the failure of your competitor, Mr. McCain, who against the will of the vast majority of the American people, declared that the occupation of Iraq should be eternal. We are sure that you are aware that these wars destroyed Iraq as a people and as a land, as well as its contribution to the destruction of the American economy, and its contribution to the present financial crisis.
The Israel Defense Forces Northern Command concluded a large-scale exercise yesterday which simulated a double-front conflagration with Syria and Lebanon.
The drill, codenamed "Shiluv Zro'ot III" (Crossing Arms III), was the second largest of its kind since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The exercise drilled the Israel Air Force and the Home Front Command in dealing with protocol and problem-solving missions under the simulated firing of thousands of rockets and missiles into the heart of Israel's population centers.In addition to the Northern Command, the air force and the home front command, Crossing Arms involved the IDF Military Intelligence directorate and the general staff. Unlike headquarter-level exercises from the past, Crossing Arms entailed the deployment of troops on the ground, comprising mainly reservists.
Additionally, helicopter gunships and airplanes were sent on mock raids and evacuation missions. The aircraft did not fire live ammunition, according to army sources.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Salwa Salam Qupty clutches a fading sepia photograph of a young Palestinian man wearing a traditional white headscarf. It is the sole memento that survives of her father, killed by a Jewish militia during the 1948 war that established Israel.
"He was killed 60 years ago as he was traveling to work," she said, struggling to hold back the tears. "My mother was four months pregnant with me at the time. This photograph is the closest I've ever got to him."
Six decades on from his death, she has never been allowed to visit his grave in Galilee and lay a wreath for the father she never met.
This month, after more than 10 years of requests to the Israeli authorities, she learnt that officials are unlikely ever to grant such a visit, even though Mrs. Qupty is an Israeli citizen and lives only a few miles from the cemetery....
AL TANF, Iraq-Syria Border, October 30 (UNHCR)
The UN refugee agency has rushed assistance to hundreds of Palestinian refugees stuck in camps on the Iraq-Syria border after heavy rain and flooding caused chaos and misery.
Rainstorms on Tuesday night left tents inundated with water and sewage, possessions soaked and electricity supplies cut at Al Tanf, a settlement housing almost 800 people in the narrow no man's land between Iraq and Syria. The small mosque was damaged by fire, but there were no human casualties.....
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Today in history is another black day in the Palestinian history.
1. On October 29, 1948, when Israeli brigades captured the village of Safsaf. The known details of the massacre come to us via several contemporary second-hand Zionist reports and via Arab oral history. Yosef Nachmani, a senior officer in the Haganah (and later the director of the Jewish National Fund in Eastern Galilee), recorded in his diary what he was told by Immanuel Friedman, a representative of the Minority Affairs ministry:
In Safsaf, after … the inhabitants had raised a white flag, the [soldiers] collected and separated the men and women, tied the hands of fifty-sixty fellahin [peasants] and shot and killed them and buried them in a pit. Also, they raped several women…
Here is one peace activists account of his encounter with violent settlers, check out the video footage:
At dawn the activists arrived. Around thirty Ta'ayush (Arab-Jewish Partnership) and international volunteers came to the Palestinian groves adjacent to the Jewish settlement in Tel-Rumeida,
A few days earlier, the activists had been informed that the settlers had entered the groves and had stolen olives from their rightful owners. Complaints to the police were ignored, while the military decided to deny Palestinians all access to the trees.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
By Laurie King-Irani Source: Electronic Intifada
This week marks the 26th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the second half of the twentieth century. A Google search for recent news reports on this year's commemoration of the atrocity, however, brought up very little. Yes, there were some emotional blog posts, as well as a link to the BBC's "On this Day" page, featuring quick facts and figures about the massacre, alongside an archival, and iconic, photograph of twisted corpses lying in a heap next to a cinderblock wall, the victims of an execution-style killing.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
So regular postings shall now hereby begin....
The Occupation 101 Film Screening on Thursday went so well, no hitches and a great turnout!! Thanks to all those people that came and watched and asked questions, we'll see you again at the next event no doubt.
The 15th and 16th of September marked yet again the Massacres of Sabra and Shatila, may we never forget and keep reminding the western superpowers and citizens of those murderous and horrific war crimes every year.
For those of you who would like to know a little more about the massacre, I have pasted Robert Fisk's eye-witness account of the massacre that he had published in his award winning book 'Pity the Nation'. So if you haven't read it yet.....check it out.
SABRA AND SHATILA
By Robert Fisk
What we found inside the Palestinian camp at ten o'clock on the morning of September 1982 did not quite beggar description, although it would have been easier to re-tell in the cold prose of a medical examination. There had been medical examinations before in Lebanon, but rarely on this scale and never overlooked by a regular, supposedly disciplined army. In the panic and hatred of battle, tens of thousands had been killed in this country. But these people, hundreds of them had been shot down unarmed. This was a mass killing, an incident - how easily we used the word "incident" in Lebanon - that was also an atrocity. It went beyond even what the Israelis would have in other circumstances called a terrorist activity. It was a war crime.
Jenkins and Tveit were so overwhelmed by what we found in Chatila that at first we were unable to register our own shock. Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was "Jesus Christ" over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat. Bur there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were babies - blackened babies babies because they had been slaughtered more than 24-hours earlier and their small bodies were already in a state of decomposition - tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins, Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey.
Where were the murderers? Or to use the Israelis' vocabulary, where were the "terrorists"? When we drove down to Chatila, we had seen the Israelis on the top of the apartments in the Avenue Camille Chamoun but they made no attempt to stop us. In fact, we had first been driven to the Bourj al-Barajneh camp because someone told us that there was a massacre there. All we saw was a Lebanese soldier chasing a car theif down a street. It was only when we were driving back past the entrance to Chatila that Jenkins decided to stop the car. "I don't like this", he said. "Where is everyone? What the f**k is that smell?"
Just inside the the southern entrance to the camp, there used to be a number of single-story, concrete walled houses. I had conducted many interviews in these hovels in the late 1970's. When we walked across the muddy entrance to Chatila, we found that these buildings had been dynamited to the ground. There were cartridge cases across the main road. I saw several Israeli flare canisters, still attached to their tiny parachutes. Clouds of flies moved across the rubble, raiding parties with a nose for victory.
Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses. There were more than a dozen of them, young men whose arms and legs had been wrapped around each other in the agony of death. All had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats. One had been castrated, his trousers torn open and a settlement of flies throbbing over his torn intestines.
The eyes of these young men were all open. The youngest was only 12 or 13 years old. They were dressed in jeans and coloured shirts, the material absurdly tight over their flesh now that their bodies had begun to bloat in the heat. They had not been robbed. On one blackened wrist a Swiss watch recorded the correct time, the second hand still ticking round uselessly, expending the last energies of its dead owner.
On the other side of the main road, up a track through the debris, we found the bodies of five women and several children. The women were middle-aged and their corpses lay draped over a pile of rubble. One lay on her back, her dress torn open and the head of a little girl emerging from behind her. The girl had short dark curly hair, her eyes were staring at us and there was a frown on her face. She was dead.
Another child lay on the roadway like a discarded doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too. Someone had slit open the woman's stomach, cutting sideways and then upwards, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her eyes were wide open, her dark face frozen in horror.
"...As we stood there, we heard a shout in Arabic from across the ruins. "They are coming back," a man was screaming, So we ran in fear towards the road. I think, in retrospect, that it was probably anger that stopped us from leaving, for we now waited near the entrance to the camp to glimpse the faces of the men who were responsible for all of this. They must have been sent in here with Israeli permission. They must have been armed by the Israelis. Their handiwork had clearly been watched - closely observed - by the Israelis who were still watching us through their field-glasses.
When does a killing become an outrage? When does an atrocity become a massacre? Or, put another way, how many killings make a massacre? Thirty? A hundred? Three hundred? When is a massacre not a massacre? When the figures are too low? Or when the massacre is carried out by Israel’s friends rather than Israel's enemies?
That, I suspected, was what this argument was about. If Syrian troops had crossed into Israel, surrounded a Kibbutz and allowed their Palestinian allies to slaughter the Jewish inhabitants, no Western news agency would waste its time afterwards arguing about whether or not it should be called a massacre.
But in Beirut, the victims were Palestinians. The guilty were certainly Christian militiamen - from which particular unit we were still unsure - but the Israelis were also guilty. If the Israelis had not taken part in the killings, they had certainly sent militia into the camp. They had trained them, given them uniforms, handed them US army rations and Israeli medical equipment. Then they had watched the murderers in the camps, they had given them military assistance - the Israeli airforce had dropped all those flares to help the men who were murdering the inhabitants of Sabra and Chatila - and they had established military liason with the murderers in the camps
Monday, September 1, 2008
* The occupation will not be televised but it will be blogged about.