VOICES FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL

My fellow blogger and peace activist from Palestine, Laila El-Haddad,

wrote the following article for AlJazeera… it is an interesting read for anyone who wants to know what the average Palestinian is thinking these days… about Israel. To see the original article with photos of those interviewed, click HERE.

Palestinian voices: Hamas and Israel

By Laila El-Haddad

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has threatened to call a referendum unless Hamas resolves differences with his Fatah faction.

The referendum would ask Palestinians whether they accept a document that was drawn up by Fatah and Hamas leaders imprisoned in Israel and that endorses a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The document would amount to a recognition of Israel’s right to exist, a major stumbling block for relations between the Hamas-led government and the United States and European Union.

Hamas, elected to power in January, has refused to recognise Israel, and the US and EU have cut aid until Hamas reverses this stance, gives up armed struggle and accepts past deals signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Since Hamas took office in March, Israel has frozen tax revenues to the Authority, amounting to $52 million a month, and has closed Palestinian borders, leading to shortages in food and medicine and a halt in exports.

Salaries for about 130,000 Palestinian public servants have gone unpaid.

Aljazeera.net spoke with eight Palestinians about their views, asking whether they think Hamas should recognise Israel’s right to exist and under what conditions.

Mariam Om Ibrahim al-Kurd, 82, refugee

Please tell me, why should I recognise Israel?

Does it recognise my right to return to the land they expelled me from in the middle of the night – the same land they want me to recognise now as theirs?

I think Hamas should stand firm by its principals, and I am confident God will make them victorious, because they have only the interests of the people at heart, not themselves like those cowards before them.

Maha Banna, 32, schoolteacher

The previous government recognised Israel and it achieved nothing. It’s simply another way to prove that [Israel] gets what it wants, when it wants.

Besides, Israel exists already – it doesn’t need anyone to recognise its existence. And for them to set borders unilaterally – that in and of itself is not recognising our right to exist.

I don’t think whether they acknowledge Israel or not will make a difference. …

While money is a problem right now, people don’t want Hamas to compromise more politics. Playing with words is not up to them, it’s up to the PLO.

Hasan Nakhala, 35, shopkeeper

Hamas should leave power – they aren’t accounting for all these difficulties in society, nor the realities on the ground.

I buy merchandise every week, but I’m not selling anything. People have no money to buy anymore. They are selling their gold and other belongings in order to buy food for their families.

I deal with Israelis every day in my trade – this is my reality. So I know they exist.

Besides, didn’t Hamas recognise the PLO and follow its path? And didn’t the PLO recognise Israel? There is no alternative solution.

Saeed Abo Salah, 40, farmer

What did recognition bring us?

We’ve been through 10 years of negotiations and yesses for nothing.

All American initiatives have failed. Oslo was merely institutionalised occupation. So now we give them one more “yes” for what? To continue with their annexation plan in the West, to continue and choke us here in Gaza?

I would say “yes” to recognition in a referendum only after certain conditions are met. They need to recognise our rights first.

Basma Ghalayini, 22, university student

I think that we have to recognise Israel because they have tied our recognition of them with a lot of other things – like blocking aid to us. It’s not the ideal solution, but it’s the practical solution. …

People are making do now, but later they might not be able to. And if they do recognise Israel, it won’t have any meaning anyway – it’ll be recognition under duress.

Ali Murad, 26, national security officer

There is no other way other than the resistance. Hamas should not recognise Israel.

Salaries are essential, yes, and I as a human being and employee of the government along with thousands of others are not receiving them. But we should not link the two issues.

Aid should not be conditional.

For 12 years we have been negotiating, only to get destruction and grief in return. …

I think the alternative is that Israel should present us with a solution, because the ball is in their court now, not ours. They need to end their occupation of our land.

Hashim al-Hussaini, 28, economist

I think it is essential for matters to go forward that the government recognises Israel. They have to recognise the current agreement so that, for example, the tax revenue clearance can be resumed. If Hamas wants to stay in power, knowing that there are external and internal pressures, they have to be pragmatic.

If you want to stay in politics, you have to play the game – it means you do have basics and fundamentals that you keep to, but on the other hand, you can keep true to your principles. However, you are taking charge of four million people, so you have to bear in mind that you represent their interests and if that means recognising Israel, then you do it.

We are not saying that you concede a Palestinian state, you just have to keep in mind that you are not just representing Hamas.

Muhammad Dabbagh, 22, taxi driver

I think Hamas has one of three choices: They can step down, since it’s what everyone on the outside wants, including the Arab states. They can call for a re-election, since no one will vote for them again (they regret it and learned their lesson). Or, thirdly, the cabinet is restructured to include ministers from Fatah. Or of course, they can just recognise Israel.

They say it accomplished nothing, but this is not true. It did accomplish things, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. But it’s against their principles, and so this option will not happen.

Marwan Diab, 37, public relations officer

I don’t think it’s a good idea, because if Hamas were to recognise Israel, at that point we will have lost all of our cards.

From previous experiences, we’ve learned that Israel has often said we would like this to happen and that to happen, but they themselves never have to give anything up. We are always giving up things, but they are never giving us anything in exchange.

And if we were to give up this card, it’s a problem. We’ll have lost everything.

But in a comprehensive peace settlement, in the context of a just solution to the Palestinian problem as a whole – a peaceful solution that will result in ending the occupation and establishing our own state, I see no problem in recognising Israel.

The voice of the Palestinian people is rarely heard on the ‘other side of the wall’… they deserve to be heard…understood…and respected.

CHAVEZ TO SPEND 2.7 BILLION DOLLARS ON DEFENSE

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — – Venezuela is buying helicopters, boats and military transport planes in defense deals worth about $2.7 billion, modernizing its military as tensions grow between leftist President Hugo Chavez and the United States. To see the full report… click here.

Now, one might ask how a person like myself, who has been a peace activist for more than four decades can support a move like that.
Perhaps this documented evidence will explain how;

USA AGGRESSION AND ACTS OF WAR AGAINST SOVEREIGN NATIONS


a.. 1950 Korean War – The USA battled North Korea without any declaration
of war and called it a police action.

b.. 1955 Vietnam War – The USA was unhappy about the communist government
in the north, so it firstly embarked on training the South Vietnam military,
then got fully involved in a large scale civil war, bombing all of Vietnam
and surrounding countries until eventually it was beaten in 1975 and driven
out.

c.. 1961 Invasion of Cuba (Bay of Pigs) – After the fascist US backed
dictator Fulgencio Batista was deposed by Fidel Castro, the USA, unhappy
about his new communist government, funded and backed an illegal invasion of
Cuba which failed. The USA maintains sanctions against Cuba to this day.

d.. 1965 Invasion of Dominican Republic – The USA was unhappy about the
duly elected government, so it invaded and deposed it and installed a puppet
regime.

e.. 1973 Deposing of Salvador Allende in Chile with USA involvement – The
USA was unhappy about the legally elected socialist government, so the CIA
arranged for Allende to be deposed and a US backed fascist dictatorship led
by Augusto Pinochet was installed, that was responsible for killing many
tens of thousands of innocent Chileans.

f.. 1983 Invasion of Grenada – The USA was unhappy about the new legally
elected socialist government, so on the pretext that USA citizens were in
danger, the USA invaded and deposed the government.

g.. 1985 Iran-Contra Affair – The USA secretly funded a guerrilla army
with money made from illegal weapons sales to Iran because it was opposed to
the legally elected Socialist government of Daniel Ortega. The USA also
illegally mined the harbour of Managua to disrupt shipping.

h.. 1986 Bombing of Libya – Without offering any hard evidence whatsoever,
the USA claimed that Libya was masterminding global terrorism and illegally
bombed Tripoli, killing the daughter of Libyan leader Gaddafi and other
innocent civilians.

i.. 1989 Invasion of Panama – The USA claimed that Panamanian head of
state Manuel Noriega was allowing drug shipments to transit Panama enroute
to the USA so against established international law, the USA illegally
invaded Panama, kidnapped Noriega and illegally took him to USA where he was
jailed.

j.. 1990 Persian Gulf War – The USA masterminded the bombing and invasion
of Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait although Kuwait was not a USA ally and was
previously Iraqi territory. Evidence has emerged that Iraq was given secret
sanction by the USA to annex Kuwait until the USA reversed its policy
without informing Iraq, thus setting Iraq up to be invaded.

k.. 1993 Missile strike on Iraq – The USA claimed that Iraq was plotting
to kill the then USA President and bombed Baghdad, however no proof has ever
been given that such a plot existed.

l.. 1998 Cruise missile bombing of Afghanistan – The USA bombed the
residence of suspected USA embassy bombing mastermind Osama Bin Laden,
killing innocent people. USA was not at war with Afghanistan.

m.. 1998 Cruise missile bombing of Sudan – The USA claimed that Sudan was
operating a chemical weapons factory and bombed it without warning. The USA
was not at war with Sudan and this was nothing more than an illegal naked
act of war.

n.. 1998 Iraq no-fly zone – With the UK, the USA is imposing an illegal
no-fly zone on Iraq without UN sanction. This action is not part of the
cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the UN and under international law, it
is an illegal act of continuing aggression by the USA.

o.. 1999 Air war against Yugoslavia – This was a totally illegal act of
aggression on a sovereign nation. USA interests or citizens were not at risk
and war was not declared. NATO is a defence alliance and has no mandate to
wage war unless member countries are attacked. USA missiles and bombs have
killed innocent civilians including those the USA claims to want to protect.

The list is far from complete and is not up to date, but the evidence is there. Hugo Chavez has every reason to believe that Venezuela is on the list of countries to be invaded by the United States.

The money spent in defense against such an invasion is money spent to guarantee peace. That is how I can support such a move.

1500 MORE US TROOPS JUST MOVED TO IRAQ

Here’s a great song from the 60′s…. it might as well have been written yesterday…

What Did You Learn in School Today
By Tom Paxton

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that Washington never told a lie
I learned that soldiers seldom die
I learned that everybody’s free
That’s what the teacher said to me
And that’s what I learned in school today
That’s what I learned in school

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that policemen are my friends
I learned that justice never ends
I learned that murderers die for their crimes
Even if we make a mistake sometimes
And that’s what I learned in school today
That’s what I learned in school

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that war is not so bad
I learned about the great ones we have had
We fought in Germany and in France
And someday I might get my chance
And that’s what I learned in school today
That’s what I learned in school

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that our government must be strong
It’s always right and never wrong
Our leaders are the finest men
So we elect them again and again
And that’s what I learned in school today
That’s what I learned in school

Copyright Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc.

The song says it all about this news report… just in on CNN…

… and yet the Nation sleeps…. WAKE UP AMERICA!

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

This will be a photo blog… no commentary… look at these children.. don’t they all have the RIGHT to grow up in a peaceful world?

ALL I AM SAYING… FOR THE CHILDREN…. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!

ONE BILLION DOLLARS INVESTED IN AMUSEMENT PARK

Before there was Freedom Land or Disney Land or Disney World, there was Coney Island. The funny face above was the logo of the biggest amusement area in Coney Island, Steeplechase Park.
It was a great place to grow up near. It offered us a place to run off and be totally independant from our elders for an entire afternoon.

Who never heard of Nathans Famous? It was America’s original Junk Food Paradise… and part of the day’s outing to Coney Island.
Coney Island died a horrible death, at least the amusement areas that were there. Lots were cleared and low income housing was built in its place. Housing that was not looked after by the builders, housing that was allowed to turn into slums within a very short time.

The few business’ that remained struggled for their very existance. Now, private investors are prepared to put ONE BILLION DOLLARS into the area to bring it back to life. I am personally torn by this decision…. I would love to see Coney Island restored to its original glory. A place that I can visit on my trips to the area, a place where I can bring my grandchildren and show off to them where I grew up.
But, I’d rather see that money invested to refurbish the apartment blocks in the area and see more built for low and middle income families.

That’s not going to happen with private funds obviously, but perhaps pressure can be put on Mayor Bloomberg to look into the situation. We can hope…

ITCHE GOLDBERG… ALIVE AND WELL AT 102

Years ago I heard the following joke…

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.”Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, ‘There’s Jennifer; she’s a lawyer,’ or ‘That’s Michael, he’s a doctor.’” A small voice at the back of the room rang out, “And there’s the teacher; she’s dead.”

When one reaches my age, one can assume, in most cases, that that is true. I just discovered that my favourite and most dedicated teacher is alive and well and just celebrated his 102nd birthday.
He was my Yiddish teacher for many years; his name is Itche Goldberg.

The Ericson Tribune had a short paragraph about him… it is produced here…

Itche Goldberg, 102, sits in his New York apartment Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Goldberg, a top Yiddish scholar since the 1930s, has devoted his adult life to ensuring the 1,000-year-old Yiddish language and culture survive. Chicago once boasted 200,000 Yiddish speakers. No more than 5,000 Jews still speak Yiddish in and around Chicago today, says Jake Morowitz, head of the YIVO Society, which promotes Yiddish in the area.

The following tribute was made in the New York House of Representatives on the occassion of Itche’s 100th birthday.
Speech of..
HON. JERROLD NADLER
OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2004

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my constituent, Itche Goldberg on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Itche is at once a leader, scholar and educator, yet he still remains a student. It is rare to encounter a man who has achieved as much as Itche has, but that is not what truly makes Itche unique. What sets Itche apart from those few who can match his accomplishments is his continued passion to learn, explore and delve further into the subjects he studies. The greatest beneficiary of Itche’s work has never been Itche himself, but rather those who have had the pleasure of reading his works and the work he has translated and for the important role he has played in preserving the Yiddish language.
Itche began his path of scholarship in Canada, where he studied philosophy, political economics and German. At the age of twenty, he was already teaching in the Toronto Workmen Circle Folkshul, the first step onto a path of instruction that extended to Philadelphia and New York as well. His lectures have been in both Yiddish and English, covering Jewish culture and literature. From 1970 to 1985, Itche was professor of Yiddish language and literature at Queens College of the City University of New York.
From 1936 to 1951, Itche edited Yungvarg, a Yiddish children’s magazine, and others for both parents and teachers. During that time, he wrote many children’s stories in Yiddish. Also among Itche’s work are numerous Yiddish textbooks he authored, and even more he edited. As Director of the Service Bureau for Jewish Education and the Zhitlowsky Foundation, Itche’s mission was to make sure these books were not only produced, but also provided to their target audiences in Jewish secular schools. Itche was also recently awarded the prestigious Raoul Wallenberg medal.
Today, Itche goes to the office every day to ensure that the journal he is editor-in-chief of, Yiddishe Kultur, sees continued life. Even after forty years on the job, he remains tirelessly devoted to the endurance of one of the few surviving quality journals published in Yiddish language worldwide.
In a society such as ours, which values hard work, education and culture, Itche Goldberg is priceless. A child wishing to study Yiddish culture can turn to Itche’s work at every stage of life; whether it is his children’s stories, textbooks, journals or upcoming second volume of essays. Itche is an asset to us all, and I feel privileged to honor him for his profound contributions towards the preservation of Yiddish, and for doing so with such an inspiring passion. Mir shatsn op ayer vunderlekhe arbet l’toyves der yidisher kultur vos hot baraikhert dem gontsn Yidishn yishev. (English Translation “We honor your wonderful work for the benefit of Yiddish culture which enriches all of Yiddish heritage.”)

The traditional Blessing that we give to someone on their birthday in Hebrew is..
Ad Meah v’Esrim
In Yiddish… Biz A Hundert un Tzvansik
In English…. Till A Hundred and Twenty!

May he enjoy many more productive years in good health. Zol er zein Gebentched!
May he be blessed, as we are to have him in our lives.

SAVE YOUR FACES (AND THE WORLD) AND RESIGN!

The Economist termed these two as “THE AXIS OF FEEBLE”

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, in a joint media conference, said the war in Iraq has not gone as smoothly as they had hoped and admitted they had made mistakes.

Hmmm…. do I smell RESIGNATION???…. or am I just hoping?

WAR IS GOOD FOR MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS…NOT PEOPLE!

Visit here to vote for impeachment.

MEMORIAL DAY 2006

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, Americans will bow their heads in prayer for the souls of lost loved ones that died in battle. Many died proudly to preserve the very freedoms that the great nation were founded on.
Others died needlessly, in fact were murdered by the evil powers that have since taken over that nation. Their deaths must not go unnoticed and their murderers must not go unpunished.
One such victim was Casey Sheehan. His sister wrote the following poem in his honour. I posted it before but feel it must be read and circulated as widely as possible.

~ A Nation Rocked To Sleep/For Casey
By Carly Sheehan (Casey Sheehan’s younger sister)

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother’s weeping will never be done.
They call him a hero, you should be glad he’s one, but,
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
They say he must be brave because his boy died for another mans lies.
The only thing he allows himself are long, deep sighs.
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother’s grave?
They say he died so the flag will continue to wave,
But I believe he died because they had oil to save.
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother’s grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a Nation Rocked to Sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won’t be so deep,
But if we the people let them continue, another mother will weep.
Have you ever heard the sound of a Nation Rocked to Sleep?

~ A Nation Rocked To Sleep/For Casey
By Carly Sheehan
Copyrighted 2004

So yes, wake up America! End the war NOW!

Casey Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan mourning her son’s death

BOB DYLAN … AN APPRECIATION

Sixty five years ago today Bob Dylan was born into the Zimmerman family. Who knew that this young child would eventually become the ‘voice of the movement’? His songs inspired millions of young people during the turbulant sixties… the songs that he wrote became hymns to many activists in the Civil Rights and Anti War Movements.
He was always there… both physically and in spirit. He made us proud to be who we were and proud to be be doing what we were doing.

Today, at 65, he continues to do what he knows best… compose and sing. May he do so for many more years.
Thanks Bob… we loveya!


BLOWIN IN THE WIND
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

‘YESH TIKVAH’ …THERE IS HOPE

There is a group in the Israeli Defense Forces that calls themselves ‘Yesh Gvul’ … There Are Limits…
They are soldiers that refuse to serve in the occupied territories and often risk prison terms as a result.

Pictured in this photo is a woman named Aliza Olmert. She was the inspiration I needed to coin the phrase for another concept… Yesh Tikvah …There Is Hope! She is presently accompanying her husband on his State Visit to the United States. Just as her son was ‘outed’ a few weeks ago as a person being way to the left of his father, so has she followed suit and made her views public.
She apparently is a very private person, but as long as she is married to the Prime Minister, there is always the chance that she can sway him to a more rational position on the current crisis here.

I have always had as my personal motto..’Never Say Never’…. in this case it is very fitting. Yesh Tikvah!

AND THESE ARE ‘THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES’

As the world slowly rejects the ‘leadership’ and ‘wisdom’ of George Dubya Bush, the new Prime Minister of Israel is on his first official ‘ass kissing mission’ to Washington. Needless to say, the wonderful relations that were established between Ariel Sharon and Bush will be continued. Also, needless to say, this will be at the expense of the Palestinian people.

HaAretz had the following article on their on-line edition this evening…

Bush, Olmert meet for first time at White House

By Aluf Benn and Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and AP


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. President George W. Bush met for the first time Tuesday night at the White House. The two leaders will issue a joint statement following the meeting expressing their concern over Iran’s nuclear program and call for it to be halted.

As part of the statement, Bush is expected to include a reiteration of his pledge, first stated in February, that the United States will protect Israel against Iran.

Iran tested on Tuesday another long-range ground-to-ground “Shihab-3″ missile, an experiment viewed by Israeli and Western officials as an example of Iranian defiance of international efforts to halt its nuclear program and impose upon it sanctions.

The “Shihab-3″ has a known range of 1,300 kilometers and could reach any target in Israel. Iran is also in the process of developing longer-range missiles, intended to reach a distance of 5,000 miles.

A senior government official said earlier Tuesday that Israel would “be willing to go bilateral” if Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas started fulfilling his pre-election pledges.

“He said after the election he would dismantle the terrorist organizations,” the official told the Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

Olmert was quoted by Israel Radio on Tuesday as saying that he would be “willing to devote six to nine months to find a Palestinian partner” before turning to a unilateral plan for a withdrawal in the West Bank.

Olmert met for dinner with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on Monday night to prepare for his White House talks with Bush.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said on Tuesday evening: “We are interested in making sure that the prime minister has serious talks with his Palestinian counterpart.

“We are not ready to jump to final status negotiations. We’re reiterating our concern that we get two-party talks that lead ultimately to final status negotiations along the road map to peace. I know I’m using all the jargon here, but that’s exactly what we’re doing, one step at a time,” he added.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke with Bush late Monday to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East, the official Petra News Agency said Tuesday.

According to sources in the Israeli delegation, the prime minister will raise three issues in his meeting with Bush: the immediate need to deal with the Iranian threat; the situation in the Palestinian Authority, including dealing with Hamas and talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas; and Olmert’s “convergence” plan for a major withdrawal from the West Bank, a step that would include the evacuation of settlements east of the separation fence, after which Israel will have a new border.

Olmert is expected to inform Bush that the convergence plan is not a step that will be implemented immediately, but rather is an idea that must be worked through in the coming months, in the event that Israeli-Palestinian talks are unsuccessful.

Israeli sources said that in his statement, Bush will express support in principle for Israeli moves that can promote his vision of a two-state solution in which Israel and the Palestinians will live side by side in peace and security.

The sources also said that Bush’s statement will relate in a positive way to the convergence plan, even if only in general terms. Bush’s positive statement on convergence will take its tone from a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in March this year, in which she said that the U.S. prefers a bilateral solution, but that the idea of convergence has merit in a situation in which the Palestinian government refuses to recognize Israel. Rice said at that time that the U.S. administration was interested in hearing more about the Israeli idea.

A series of secret talks between the U.S. and Israel is expected to follow Olmert’s visit. During these talks, elements of the convergence plan will be honed and translated into a practical program.

U.S. State Department envoys David Welch and Elliott Abrams are to come to Israel at the beginning of June. Rice is also expected to visit the region, and an additional meeting between Bush and Olmert is likely as well.

In their statement this evening, Bush and Olmert will reiterate that both Israel and the U.S. are committed to implementing the president’s vision for the Middle East, as expressed in the road map. They will also once
again insist that the PA’s Hamas government accede to the Quartet’s demand that it recognize Israel, renounce terror and accept previous accords.

According to the sources in the prime minister’s delegation, the statements will not mention Abbas or the need to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the territories. Olmert will also not publicly pledge to evacuate illegal settlement outposts; the Israeli sources said that the Americans did not bring this issue up in preparatory talks prior to the Bush-Olmert meeting.

Olmert began his day Monday with ten kilometers on a treadmill at Blair House, together with his military secretary, Gad Shamni. Meanwhile, the Israeli team – Yoram Turbowicz, Dov Weissglas and Shalom Turjeman, along with Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon met with Welch and Abrams to hammer out the leaders’ concluding statements.

The prime minister then held a meeting with lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), followed by a nap. Last night, he had dinner with Rice, during which they discussed Olmert’s meeting with Bush this evening.

Bush is expected to schedule six hours for the Olmert visit, which will begin with an hour-and-a-half working meeting followed by a press conference, where the joint statement will be issued, continue with dinner, at which aides to both leaders will be present, and conclude with a private meeting.

Aliza Olmert had her own schedule yesterday, which included meetings with Nobel Prize-winning author Judith Williams and with members of an organization dealing with the rights of young children.

If peace was the real desire of these two ‘leaders’ than a representative of Hamas would be there as well. As long as they are excluded, as long as they are not recognised, there can never be even the hope that peace will come to this regeon. Olmert has the opportunity right now to be the one to bring peace to the Middle East, if he gets in too deep with the gang in Washington, both peoples will suffer.. the Israelis and the Palestinians. The ball is in his hand!

JUST WHO IS STEPHEN HARPER?


Stephen Harper is not a Tory, but an American-style Conservative, that seeks to serve the interests of the U.S. President George W. Bush administration

Just what does the average American know about Canada? Having lived there for twenty years I think I can say that I know more than most of them. Canada is NOT an ice covered country that spends six months out of the year in total darkness. Canada does have a Queen, but is governed by a democratically elected government. Canada has, since 1867, been a victim of ‘Big Nation Chauvenism’… mainly from its neighbour to the South.

Politically, Canada has grown closer to the United States government than any other country in the world. This, at the expense of the Canadian worker. Young Canadians are dieing unnecessary deaths in Afghanistan.Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are out of work today because of closures of American owned industries.

Unfortunately, the Canadian electorate voted in a government that will make that situation even worse, the government of Stephen Harper.
Searching the Net, the best analysis I’ve seen to date is from an on-line Canadian newspaper, The Canadian. …This article says it better Than I could, it is definitely worth the read…

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Latour, has written a number of articles exposing Harper as well… they are worth the read as well…

Learn about Canada… and


help put the ‘red’ back in the Canadian Flag!

THE MIGHTY AND THE ALMIGHTY

Jesus apparently has been giving advice to George Dubya Bush. This is very upsetting to the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Bush has also alienated Muslims around the world by using absolutist Christian rhetoric to discuss foreign policy issues.

Albright said…”I worked for two presidents who were men of faith, and they did not make their religious views part of American policy,” she said, referring to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both Democrats and Christians.

“President Bush’s certitude about what he believes in, and the division between good and evil, is, I think, different,” said Albright, who has just published a book on religion and world affairs. “The absolute truth is what makes Bush so worrying to some of us.”

The following quotes are from a Reuters report..
In her book, “The Mighty and the Almighty,” Albright recalls how Bush, while he was governor of Texas, told Christians he believed God wanted him to be president.

She quotes from his speech to his party convention of 2004, when he told Republicans: “We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.”

“Some of his language is really quite over the top,” Albright told Reuters on Sunday during a trip to London to promote her book. “When he says ‘God is on our side’, it’s very different from (former U.S. President Abraham) Lincoln saying ‘We have to be on God’s side.’”

The CNN report can be read here

All I can conclude from this is that the American people are in serious trouble and there is only one solution that I have been dreaming of…

LANGSTON HUGHES…AN APPRECIATION

Thirty nine years ago today, a mighty voice of reason and justice was forever silenced. A man, virtually unknown to most young Americans today, died that day. The man was Langston Hughes. It was men like Hughes that were the inspiration behind the Civil Rights Movement, fearless and dedicated to what they believed in. He was constantly hounded by the FBI, accused of Communist activities, yet continued to speak out against the injustices facing the Black people in the United States.
One of his most powerful works is the following poem…

A New Song

I speak in the name of the black millions
Awakening to action.
Let all others keep silent a moment
I have this word to bring,
This thing to say,
This song to sing:
Bitter was the day
When I bowed my back
Beneath the slaver’s whip.
That day is past.
Bitter was the day
When I saw my children unschooled,
My young men without a voice in the world,
My women taken as the body-toys
Of a thieving people.
That day is past.
Bitter was the day, I say,
When the lyncher’s rope
Hung about my neck,
And the fire scorched my feet,
And the oppressors had no pity,
And only in the sorrow songs
Relief was found.
That day is past.
I know full well now
Only my own hands,
Dark as the earth,
Can make my earth-dark body free.
O thieves, exploiters, killers,
No longer shall you say
With arrogant eyes and scornful lips:
“You are my servant,
Black man-
I, the free!”
That day is past-
For now,
In many mouths-
Dark mouths where red tongues burn
And white teeth gleam-
New words are formed,
Bitter
With the past
But sweet
With the dream.
Tense,
Unyielding,
Strongand sure,
They sweep the earth-
Revolt! Arise!
The Black
And White World
Shall be one!
The Worker’s World!
The past is done!
A new dream flames
Against the
Sun!

His works, his message inspired millions of people throughout the world. His legacy lives on and must be taught to those who continue to struggle for justice. His works live on and can be obtained… they must be… he must not be forgotten.

In appreciation, those of us that were inspired by him thank him and remember him.

PALESTINE IS LIKE THE MOON

I just spent the last few days in a Palestinian village and came to the realization of certain facts that I never gave much thought to. This thread will undoubtedly upset some of my zionist readers, but so be it… it’s not my intention to upset anyone, but merely to present the facts as I see them.

First, why the comparrason to the moon? Simply because both are a great mystery. So much is totally unknown about both. Both are targets of attempted settlements. Both are feared….
Why did the Americans plant a flag on the moon? Why did they go there in the first place? Because they could! Has the Apollo moon mission done anything to better the lives of the average American citizen? I think not. Could the billions of dollars spent on their space programme be put to better use, a use that could improve the quality of the life of millions of citizens? I think so.

And the Israeli flag is being planted on the grounds of perspective new illegal outposts in Palestine… Why? Because they can! Same reason. The rush is on by certain settler groups to grab lands before the actual ‘borders’ are declared by the Olmert Administration. Borders that will be declared without negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Some existing settlements are in the process of being vacated, but this is not stopping future settlement activity.

Is this the road to peace? I think not…
There is a simple road that I discovered during my ‘retreat’… all it entails is getting to know each other. Both sides will be very surprised to learn how much they have in common with each other. Both sides will learn that what many feel as annymosity is simply ignorance of each other’s ways.

As Palestine is cut off today from the rest of the world, the people there are struggling to survive. It is harvest season , trucks go around the villages selling their produce. The watermelon truck, cucumbers and tomatoes, meat, bread, you name it, it’s on wheels. Yes, the people are eating. No one seems to be starving at the moment, but there is resentment about the closures, resentment that medical supplies and services are in short supply or non existant. Resentment towards Israel, and justifiably so.

I am not a dreamer. I realise it’s only a handful of Jewish extremists that are scurrying to plant their flags, chant ‘death to Arabs’ or actually kill innocent worshipers in Mosques. There are also a handful of Islamic extremists that are prepared to blow themselves up, killing Jews in the process. In both cases these people are less than a minority, totally not noticable within their own communities. In both cases, definitely not a justification for the collective punishment that exists.

The few days that I spent with my Palestinian brothers was truly wake up call. I knew ahead of time what to expect, but never gave much thought how critical it is at the present time for programmes to be developed that will bring both sides together. Programmes that will educate both sides as to what and who the other side is in reality.

The moon is so far away, yet billions of dollars are spent to learn about it. Palestine and Israel are literally next door to each other, where are the funds for the programmes I am proposing? I know it can be done, I also know it Must be done. Things just cannot continue the way they are. Now is the time to do it… while we still can.

WISDOM OF THE PRESIDENTS

This was too funny not to share….

Bill Clinton, John Kerry and George Bush are captured
by terrorists and told that they will be executed by a
firing squad at dawn the next morning.

Just as the sun is rising the next day, Clinton is
placed against the wall. Just before the order to
shoot him is given, he yells, “Earthquake!” The
firing squad falls into a panic and Bill jumps over
the wall and escapes in the confusion.

John Kerry is the second one placed against the wall.
The squad is reassembled and John ponders what his old
pal Bill has done. Before the order to shoot is given,
John yells, “Tornado!” Again the squad falls apart
and Kerry slips over the wall thus making his escape.

The last person, George W. Bush, is placed against the
wall. He thinks, “I see the pattern here, just scream
out a disaster and hop over the wall!” As the firing squad
is reassembled and the rifles raised in his direction, he
smirks! his famous smirk and yells, “Fire!”

CHAVEZ CALLS FOR BUSH’S IMPRISONMENT

One of the visitors to my blog had the following comment to make on my previous post…. “wow – the hatred has no limits – impeach the president because he wants to protect his border.. ya… that will work…

maybe you can explain to me where this hatred comes from?? I can understand that you might not like him – but there seems to be no limits when it comes to speaking about Bush. can you explain it?? do you really believe what you write or is it just part of what’s in these days??”

Is it “in” theses days to hate George Bush? I was never one to jump on any bandwagon, so to speak, so that’s not the case. The man has demonstrated since the day he took office that he is a danger to the world. He must be stopped from completely destroying everything.

Hugo Chavez called for his imprisonment today at a press conference in London. It might be the solution….

And just what was Washington’s reaction to this call? Here it is…In Washington, the U.S. State Department on Monday added Venezuela to the list of countries “not fully cooperating” with counterterrorism efforts.

STOP BUSH NOW!


Mexican President Vicente Fox, left, President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March

Give a moron a gun and expect to see a few people get shot to death. Make that same moron the Commander in Chief of an army and expect to see even worse.
It’s bad enough he sent troops to fight in an unjust war in Iraq…. now he is sending an additional ten thousand troops to patrol the Mexican border.
Surely this will go over well with the Mexican authorities who have always prided themselves in the fact that their border with the united States has been one of the longest unfortified frontiers in the world.
Leave it to Dubya to change that…
Harper in the north will most likely support Dubya on this… till his border is guarded as well.
The man has to be STOPPED NOW…. the man has to be IMPEACHED NOW…. before it’s too late.

SOCIALISM TO THE RESCUE

Hugo Chavez…. say what you want about the man, call him any name that comes to mind…. but he is doing what he knows best… he’s being a Socialist!
He managed to help keep scores of low income Americans warm this past winter and now pledges to do the same in Europe next winter….
Just what is Dubya doing to help anyone?????
Here is what the Associated press had to say about Chavez’s trip to Austria…

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he wants to provide cheap heating oil for low-income Europeans.

The Venezuelan leader worked out a similar deal to deliver discount heating oil this past winter to needy Americans in parts of the eastern United States.

“I’d like to do the same here in Europe,” he said Saturday evening at a gathering in Vienna of activists and representatives of social movements and non-governmental groups.

The so-called alternative summit was held in parallel to a three-day summit of leaders from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean that concluded earlier Saturday in the Austrian capital.

“I want to humbly offer support to the poorest people who do not have resources for central heating in winter and make sure that support arrives,” Chavez said.

Chavez said Venezuela has two oil refineries in Germany and one in Britain but did not provide further details about which countries could benefit from the proposal.

He added that Venezuelan ambassadors in Europe were looking into the matter.

“You Europeans can help us greatly. Your European social networks can make sure the support arrives where it should,” Chavez told the conference.

This past winter, Venezuela delivered cut-rate oil to low-income Americans through Citgo, the Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. Some Chavez critics charged the heating aid program was an attempt to embarrass U.S. President George W. Bush and was more of an attempt to score political points than it was an act of charity.

In other comments during his speech, which lasted more than two hours, Chavez — known for his anti-American rhetoric — said that the “final hours of the North American empire have arrived.”

“So now we have to say to the empire: ‘We’re not afraid of you. You’re a paper tiger,”‘ he said.

Chavez, dressed casually in a red shirt, appealed to the audience to unite and promote social change. For example, he said, more business should be steered toward smaller companies to the benefit of laborers in poorer regions, and that doing so would cut out intermediaries.

“We have to unite all possible movements, otherwise the world is not going to change,” he said.

Chavez, suggested the conference delegates meet again in the coming months to develop further ideas. He suggested they meet in Cuba in July, in Venezuela in August and in Bolivia in September.

And ‘they’ said Socialism is dead…. HA!

ISRAEL’S SUPREME COURT DIVIDED ON JUSTICE

Imagine being legally married and not being allowed to live with your spouse. Imagine raising a family from ‘the other side of the wall’. Most people cannot imagine such a horror, but to many Israeli Arabs and Palestinians this is a reality that they must live with.

Yesterday, legislation was almost passed by the Supreme Court that would have ended this inhuman situation.

This, despite the Chief Justice’s opinion on the situation…

Leading Arab politicians had this to say…

The road to peace has many bumps and obstacles in it… both sides have to pave that road and make it a smooth one… the ‘bumps’ mentioned here were put there by the Israelis, it is they that must remove them.

The full panel of Supreme Court justices…only they can make it happen.

AlJazeera had the following to report on the Court’s decision…


Israel’s high court has upheld a law that bars West Bank Palestinians from living with their spouses and children who are Arab citizens of Israel.

The law, passed in 2002, is believed to have kept hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Palestinians from moving to Israel to live with their families.

An expanded panel of 11 judges voted 6-5 on Sunday against a petition to strike it down.

Muad el-Sana, an Israeli-Arab lawyer who is married to a Palestinian woman from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, said: “This is a very black day for the state of Israel and also a black day for my family and for the other families who are suffering like us.

“The government is preventing people from conducting a normal family life just because of their nationality,” el-Sana told Israel Radio, minutes after the ruling was announced.

The government has repeatedly said the law was based on security concerns, but the restrictions also cut to a more sensitive demographic issue – the fear that the country’s Jewish majority could be threatened if too many Palestinians are granted citizenship.

Discrimination

Critics of the law say it is racist and discriminatory. Amnesty International called on Israel to repeal the law, calling it “explicitly discriminatory”.

Politician Zehava Galon, of the Meretz party, told Israel Radio: “I had hoped and expected the high court to be the last arena for protecting democracy.

“In essence we are talking about a means to halt the demographic threat. There are no real security issues.”

Orna Kohn, an lawyer from Adalah, a group that fights for the rights of Israeli-Arabs, said the court’s ruling causes “grave damage to the basic rights of thousands of people”.

“I am afraid the message the Supreme Court relayed today will allow additional racist legislation,” she told Israel Radio.

The court had granted el-Sana’s wife a temporary injunction preventing her deportation. But el-Sana said the high court’s ruling made it almost impossible for them and their two children, aged two and five months, to live together.

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