Thursday, January 27, 2011

[ePalestine] Revealed: story of Israeli troops told to 'cleanse' Gaza (A MUST SEE)


Channel 4 News
Revealed: story of Israeli troops told to 'cleanse' Gaza
Wednesday 26 January 2011

Exclusive: Israeli soldiers tell Channel 4 News they were ordered to "cleanse" Palestinian neighbourhoods, as filmmaker Nurit Kedar says "the atmosphere was that nobody should talk about this war". 


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Friday, January 21, 2011

[ePalestine] NYRBblog: ‘And No One Wants to Know’: Israeli Soldiers on the Occupation

New York Review Books  

‘And No One Wants to Know’: Israeli Soldiers on the Occupation  

David Shulman 


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[ePalestine] NYRB: Who’s Afraid of the Palestinians? (by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley)

"...history is not in the habit of rewarding good behavior; it is a struggle, not a beauty contest." 

Who’s Afraid of the Palestinians? 

February 10, 2011 
Hussein Agha and Robert Malley 


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

[ePalestine] He was only a Palestinian... 

Israel drops investigation into police shooting of Palestinian 

The Palestinian motorist sideswiped police and then tried to flee when they opened fire. Israeli officials say the border policeman who shot the man in the head while he was lying in the road acted reasonably out of fear that the man was a terrorist. 

By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times 
8:18 AM PST, January 18, 2011 
Reporting from Jerusalem 

Israeli officials said Tuesday they were dropping a criminal probe of an Israeli border policeman who shot to death a Palestinian motorist after the man sideswiped a foot patrol of soldiers and then tried to escape when they opened fire. 

Justice Ministry officials described the incident as a "lethal and rapid chain of events that ended tragically with a man's death," but said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges. 

Witnesses said the driver, Ziad Jilani, 41, already had been shot at least once and was lying in the road when the Israeli officer walked up next to him and fired at his head with an M16 rifle, killing Jilani instantly. 

Investigators said the Israeli policeman initially lied to them by denying his role in the incident and had made a "grave" mistake in judgment during the June 11 shooting. But they concluded that he reacted reasonably out a fear that the driver was a terrorist, according to the Justice Ministry statement. 

Government investigators said it was possible that Jilani had momentarily lost control of his car as he attempted to circumvent an East Jerusalem traffic jam, accidentally veering into a group of soldiers on foot. At least two soldiers suffered what authorities called "light injuries." 

Jilani's widow, Texas-born Moira Jilani, called the ministry's decision not to prosecute "ridiculous. That man executed my husband by shooting him point-blank. If that's not criminal, what is?" 

She criticized Israeli officials for taking seven months to reach the decision and said she planned to meet with her attorney to discuss their next step, which might include a private lawsuit. 

"This shows the racism in Israel," said Jilana, mother of three. She said Israeli soldiers and police officers are rarely punished for killing or injuring Palestinians. 

"They've been sitting on their hands for months to see if I would give up and go back to the U.S.'' she said. "But I'm not going anywhere." 

According to the government statement, the officer initially denied shooting Jilani. But he changed his story after the family agreed to exhume Jilani's body to prove he had been shot at close range. 

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times 


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

[ePalestine] Atlanta Journal-Constitution: King’s words live in Palestinian city

"More civil society actions to highlight Palestinian dispossession are being planned, probably the most spectacular of which will be the next flotilla planned to take place a few months from now. Ordinary civilians from the U.S. will embark on “The Audacity of Hope,” a U.S.-flagged boat, to sail the Mediterranean and bring the world’s attention to the Israeli siege of Gaza."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

King’s words live in Palestinian city 

By Dorothy M. Zellner 

9:09 p.m. Friday, January 14, 2011 

As a veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement, I hope this year’s Martin Luther King Day will be more than the usual constant repetition of his “I have a dream” speech. This has flattened the very essence of the movement, which was the vastness and the vibrancy of hundreds of thousands of “ordinary” people who wouldn’t and couldn’t stand for any more indignities and any more insults. 

I know because I was in Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi as a staffer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; I spent two years in Atlanta. 

This great movement of African-American civilians and their white allies lacked an army or air force, yet we imprinted our freedom demands on the national consciousness for the following decades and presumably, for decades to come. 

There are other movements of civil society in every continent of the world. The one I have seen with my own eyes is the movement of Palestinians resisting Israel’s occupation. 

It may surprise people to know that Palestinians read Dr. King’s words and call his name and study the American civil rights movement, among other histories of other peoples, for ways to bring to the attention of the world the fact that little by little, their land is disappearing along with their rights. The center of this effort now is in small West Bank villages like Ni’lin and Bil’in, where non-violent demonstrations have taken place weekly — for years. Yet these non- violent demonstrations of civilians are met with Israeli armed might. 

Two weeks ago, I was in Bil’in, a small village about half an hour by bus from Ramallah, which in turn is about a half hour from Jerusalem. I went to attend the funeral of a 36-year-old kindergarten teacher, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, who was killed by American-exported tear gas used by the Israeli army, the IDF, the previous day in a demonstration against the separation barrier erected by the Israelis that divides the villagers from their land. 

These demonstrations, which include many progressive Israelis as well as other internationals, have occurred every week. This Dec. 31 concluded five years of protests in Bil’in. Every Friday, members of this village of 3,000 and their supporters attempt to march to show their opposition to the wall. I say “attempt,” because, as I witnessed on another occasion in another village, the usual procedure is that only moments after the march begins, the IDF begins to hurl tear gas canisters, stink bombs and sound bombs at the protesters. 

Although tear gas is normally used for crowd control, the IDF uses it as a weapon and aims canisters directly at the people (Jawaher’s brother Bassem was killed nearly two years ago after a high-velocity tear gas canister hit his chest). The adults are unarmed, although young boys, out of frustration at the IDF attacks, often throw stones at the end of the march (to the disapproval of their elders). 

I did not go to the demonstration on Dec. 31 in Bil’in because I was afraid of the tear gas and am at an age where it is impossible for me to run. But I did go to Jawaher’s funeral in the village the next day and stood perhaps 10 yards from where they carried her body on a stretcher to the village graveyard and buried her there. 

The killing of this woman was met with evasions and outright lies from the IDF, which disputed the cause of death pronounced by the Palestinian physicians who examined her. As the Israeli columnist Gideon Levy reported, “The IDF initially claimed she was taken to hospital and then sent home, where she died. Then they claimed she was not even at the demonstration. ... Finally, the IDF claimed she died of cancer.” As Levy noted, none of this was true. 

More civil society actions to highlight Palestinian dispossession are being planned, probably the most spectacular of which will be the next flotilla planned to take place a few months from now. Ordinary civilians from the U.S. will embark on “The Audacity of Hope,” a U.S.-flagged boat, to sail the Mediterranean and bring the world’s attention to the Israeli siege of Gaza. The Israelis have threatened snipers and attack dogs against unarmed people but ultimately, the worldwide effort to end this siege will succeed. That is because this action is in the spirit of the great civil rights movement 50 years ago and demonstrates the power of ordinary people to withstand whatever armies have in mind for them. 

Dorothy M. Zellner is a member of Jews Say No! and an editor of “Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC.” 

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

[ePalestine] Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock (by Noam Chomsky)


Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock 

by: Noam Chomsky, Op-Ed 

While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as “delegitimation” – that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them – and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine. 

The “delegitimation,” which is progressing rapidly, was carried forward in December by a Human Rights Watch call on the U.S. “to suspend financing to Israel in an amount equivalent to the costs of Israel’s spending in support of settlements,” and to monitor contributions to Israel from tax-exempt U.S. organizations that violate international law, “including prohibitions against discrimination” – which would cast a wide net. Amnesty International had already called for an arms embargo on Israel. The legitimation process also took a long step forward in December, when Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil recognized the State of Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank), bringing the number of supporting nations to more than 100. 

International lawyer John Whitbeck estimates that 80-90 percent of the world’s population live in states that recognize Palestine, while 10-20 percent recognize the Republic of Kosovo. The U.S. recognizes Kosovo but not Palestine. Accordingly, as Whitbeck writes in Counterpunch, media “act as though Kosovo’s independence were an accomplished fact while Palestine’s independence is only an aspiration which can never be realized without Israeli-American consent,” reflecting the normal workings of power in the international arena. 

Given the scale of Israeli settlement of the West Bank, it has been argued for more a decade that the international consensus on a two-state settlement is dead, or mistaken (though evidently most of the world does not agree). Therefore those concerned with Palestinian rights should call for Israeli takeover of the entire West Bank, followed by an anti-apartheid struggle of the South African variety that would lead to full citizenship for the Arab population there. 

The argument assumes that Israel would agree to the takeover. It is far more likely that Israel will instead continue the programs leading to annexation of the parts of the West Bank that it is developing, roughly half the area, and take no responsibility for the rest, thus defending itself from the “demographic problem” – too many non-Jews in a Jewish state – and meanwhile severing besieged Gaza from the rest of Palestine. 

One analogy between Israel and South Africa merits attention. Once apartheid was implemented, South African nationalists recognized they were becoming international pariahs because of it. In 1958, however, the foreign minister informed the U.S. ambassador that U.N. condemnations and other protests were of little concern as long as South Africa was supported by the global hegemon – the United States. By the 1970s, the U.N. declared an arms embargo, soon followed by boycott campaigns and divestment. South Africa reacted in ways calculated to enrage international opinion. In a gesture of contempt for the U.N. and President Jimmy Carter – who failed to react so as not to disrupt worthless negotiations – South Africa launched a murderous raid on the Cassinga refugee camp in Angola just as the Carter-led “contact group” was to present a settlement for Namibia. The similarity to Israel’s behavior today is striking – for example, the attack on Gaza in January 2009 and on the Gaza freedom flotilla in May 2010. 

When President Reagan took office in 1981, he lent full support to South Africa’s domestic crimes and its murderous depredations in neighboring countries. The policies were justified in the framework of the war on terror that Reagan had declared on coming into office. In 1988, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress was designated one of the world’s “more notorious terrorist groups” (Mandela himself was only removed from Washington’s “terrorist list” in 2008). South Africa was defiant, and even triumphant, with its internal enemies crushed, and enjoying solid support from the one state that mattered in the global system. 

Shortly after, U.S. policy shifted. U.S. and South African business interests very likely realized they would be better off by ending the apartheid burden. And apartheid soon collapsed. South Africa is not the only recent case where ending U.S. support for crimes has led to significant progress. Can such a transformative shift happen in Israel’s case, clearing the way to a diplomatic settlement? Among the barriers firmly in place are the very close military and intelligence ties between the U.S. and Israel. 

The most outspoken support for Israeli crimes comes from the business world. U.S. high-tech industry is closely integrated with its Israeli counterpart. To cite just one example, the world’s largest chip manufacturer, Intel, is establishing its most advanced production unit in Israel. 

A U.S. cable released by WikiLeaks reveals that Rafael military industries in Haifa is one of the sites considered vital to U.S. interests due to its production of cluster bombs; Rafael had already moved some operations to the U.S. to gain better access to U.S. aid and markets. There is also a powerful Israel lobby, though of course dwarfed by the business and military lobbies. 

Critical cultural facts apply, too. Christian Zionism long precedes Jewish Zionism, and is not restricted to the one-third of the U.S. population that believes in the literal truth of the Bible. When British Gen. Edmund Allenby conquered Jerusalem in 1917, the national press declared him to be Richard the Lionhearted, finally rescuing the Holy Land from the infidels. 

Next, Jews must return to the homeland promised to them by the Lord. Articulating a common elite view, Harold Ickes, Franklin Roosevelt’s secretary of the interior, described Jewish colonization of Palestine as an achievement “without comparison in the history of the human race.” 

There is also an instinctive sympathy for a settler-colonial society that is seen to be retracing the history of the U.S. itself, bringing civilization to the lands that the undeserving natives had misused – doctrines deeply rooted in centuries of imperialism. 

To break the logjam it will be necessary to dismantle the reigning illusion that the U.S. is an “honest broker” desperately seeking to reconcile recalcitrant adversaries, and to recognize that serious negotiations would be between the U^.S.-Israel and the rest of the world. 

If U.S. power centers can be compelled by popular opinion to abandon decades-old rejectionism, many prospects that seem remote might become suddenly possible. 

(Noam Chomsky’s most recent book, with co-author Ilan Pappe, is "Gaza in Crisis." Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.) 

© 2011 Noam Chomsky 

Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. 

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license. 


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Saturday, January 01, 2011

[ePalestine] UPI: East Med gas bonanza has many perils

Dear friends, this is a potential regional game changer, Happy New Year, Sam  

East Med gas bonanza has many perils  

Published: Dec. 31, 2010 at 7:31 PM 

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Confirmation that the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel contains reserves of at least 16 trillion cubic feet, the largest gas discovery of the decade, could trigger an exploration boom across the eastern Mediterranean, but those who take part face many perils. 

Leviathan, and three other gas fields found off Israel, lies on a continental shelf that runs from Syrian waters at the extreme end of the eastern Mediterranean, through Lebanese and Israeli waters to the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip and Egypt, which is already a gas exporter. 

Israel, with whom Egypt signed a landmark peace treaty in 1979, the first between the Jewish state and an Arab neighbor, is one of Cairo's main gas customers. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reported earlier this year that the Mediterranean's Levantine Basin, covering around 32,000 square miles, could hold 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas -- that's around half the United States' proven gas reserves -- and around 1.7 billion barrels of oil. 

The problem is that these riches, lying up to 3 miles beneath the seabed, are inextricably woven into the seemingly intractable conflicts that plague the region, especially the Arab- Israeli struggle that now encompasses Iran as well. 

If gas is found in sufficient recoverable quantities off Syria, one of Israel's most implacable foes and a key Iranian ally, that could have a major impact on the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. 

Lebanon, once again under the influence of Syria, has already claimed that the Leviathan field runs into its waters. 

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, also supported by Syria, has warned it won't permit the Jewish state to plunder Lebanon's maritime assets. 

Israel says it will use military force to defend its newfound gas fields, which if estimates of their size are correct could provide the Jewish state's energy needs for the next 100 years as well as transform the traditionally energy-poor state into a significant exporter of gas. 

Iran, seeking to expand its influence into the Levant, has already offered to help the Lebanese develop their potential energy wealth. 

So have the Russians, further complicating the geopolitical scrimmage that's developing over Israel's gas bonanza. 

Whether foreign companies are prepared to risk investing in such a violence-prone region is questionable, particularly since Israel's adversaries don't want to see it strengthened by its newfound energy wealth at the expense of its neighbors. 

The Palestinians, struggling to achieve an independent state in land still occupied by Israel, found gas off the Gaza Strip in 2000. 

But Ariel Sharon, who became Israel's prime minister in February 2001, refused to allow them to develop the find, dubbed the Gaza Marine Field, which was awarded to the Palestinian Authority under the 1993-94 Oslo Accords. 

Britain's BG energy company surveyed the field and estimated it contained at least 1 trillion cubic feet of gas, potentially a big boost for the Palestinians' resource-poor economy. 

Some in Sharon's government wanted to buy the gas from the PA, since at that time the impoverished, blockaded Palestinians didn't constitute a large enough market for the gas and probably still don't. 

Israel under Sharon withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement it took and claimed the Gaza field. 

Israel refuses to recognize the Hamas regime but it might be more flexible if the PA, dominated by the mainstream Fatah movement and Israel's so-called peace partner, regained control of Gaza. 

Another dispute is simmering on the divided island of Cyprus, which lies west of Israel and is also rushing to join the gas bonanza. 

It has recently signed maritime zoning agreements with Israel and Lebanon that define their territorial waters. 

But Turkey and Greece, both Mediterranean powers and historic rivals, one Christian, one Muslim, are at odds over Cyprus. 

Turkey invaded the Greek-majority island in 1974 after a short-lived coup by Greek Cypriot hardliners intended to unite the island with mainland Greece. 

The Turks seized the northern one-third of the island and established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only Ankara recognizes it. 

Turkey bitterly opposes plans by the Greek Cypriots to explore for oil and gas because any strikes they make aren't likely to be shared with the TRNC. Turkey plans its own exploration effort. 

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 


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