McCARTHYISM RESURFACES ITS UGLY FACE IN ISRAEL
McCARTHYISM RESURFACES ITS UGLY FACE IN ISRAEL
The Phantom Menace:
Fantasies, Falsehoods, and Fear-Mongering about Iran’s Nuclear Program
Submitted by Nima Shirazi
“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.”
- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Facts rarely get in the way of American and Israeli fear-mongering and jingoism, especially when it comes to anti-Iran propaganda. For nearly thirty years now, U.S. and Zionist politicians and analysts, along with some of their European allies, have warned that Iranian nuclear weapons capability is just around the corner and that such a possibility would not only be catastrophic for Israel with its 400 nuclear warheads and state-of-the-art killing power supplied by U.S. taxpayers, but that it would also endanger regional dictatorships, Europe, and even the United States.
If these warnings are to be believed, Iran is only a few years away from unveiling a nuclear bomb…and has been for the past three decades. Fittingly, let’s begin in 1984.
An April 24, 1984 article entitled “‘Ayatollah’ Bomb in Production for Iran in United Press International referenced a Jane’s Intelligence Defense Weekly report warning that Iran was moving “very quickly” towards a nuclear weapon and could have one as early as 1986.
Two months later, on June 27, 1984, in an article entitled “Senator says Iran, Iraq seek N-Bomb,” Minority Whip of the U.S. Senate Alan Cranston was quoted as claiming Iran was a mere seven years away from being able to build its own nuclear weapon. In April 1987, the Washington Post published an article with the title “Atomic Ayatollahs: Just What the Mideast Needs – an Iranian Bomb,” in which reporter David Segal wrote of the imminent threat of such a weapon.
The next year, in 1988, Iraq issued warnings that Tehran was at the nuclear threshold.
By late 1991, Congressional reports and CIA assessments maintained a “high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons.” In January 1992, Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset that “within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb.”
Furthermore, a February 1992 report by the U.S. House of Representatives suggested that Iran would have two or three operational nuclear weapons by April 1992.
In March 1992, The Arms Control Reporter reported that Iran already had four nuclear weapons, which it had obtained from Russia. That same year, the CIA predicted an Iranian nuclear weapon by 2000, then later changed their estimate to 2003.
A May 1992 report in The European claims that “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing from the newly independent republic of Kazakhstan.'”
Speaking on French television in October 1992, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned the international community that Iran would be armed with a nuclear bomb by 1999. The following month, the New York Times reported that Israel was confident Iran would “become a nuclear power in a few years unless stopped.”
The same year, Robert Gates, then-director of the CIA, addressed the imminent threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. “Is it a problem today?” he asked at the time, “probably not. But three, four, five years from now it could be a serious problem.”
On January 23, 1993, Gad Yaacobi, Israeli envoy to the UN, was quoted in the Boston Globe, claiming that Iran was devoting $800 million per year to the development of nuclear weapons. Then, on February 24, 1993, CIA director James Woolsey said that although Iran was “still eight to ten years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon” the United States was concerned that, with foreign assistance, it could become a nuclear power earlier.
That same year, international press went wild with speculation over Iranian nuclear weapons. In the Spring of 1993, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, the conservative French weekly Paris Match, and Foreign Report all claimed Iran had struck a deal with North Korea to develop nuclear weapons capability, while U.S. intelligence analysts alleged an Iranian nuclear alliance with Ukraine. Months later, the AFP reported Switzerland was supplying Iran with nuclear weapons technology, while the Intelligence Newsletter claimed that the French firm CKD was delivering nuclear materials to Iran and U.S. News and World Report accused Soviet scientists working in Kazakhstan of selling weapons-grade uranium to Iran. By the end of 1993, Theresa Hitchens and Brendan McNally of Defense News and National Defense University analyst W. Seth Carus had reaffirmed CIA director Woolsey’s prediction “that Iran could have nuclear weapons within eight to ten years.”
In January 1995, John Holum, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, testified before Congress that “Iran could have the bomb by 2003,” while Defense Secretary William Perry unveiled a grimmer analysis, stating that “Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb, although how soon…depends how they go about getting it.” Perry suggested that Iran could potentially buy or steal a nuclear bomb from one of the former Soviet states in “a week, a month, five years.”
The New York Times reported that “Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought, and could be less than five years away from having an atomic bomb, several senior American and Israeli officials say,” a claim repeated by Greg Gerardi in The Nonproliferation Review (Vol. 2, 1995).
Benjamin Netanyahu, in his 1995 book “Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network,” wrote, “The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and five years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons.”
At the same time, a senior Israeli official declared, “If Iran is not interrupted in this program by some foreign power, it will have the device in more or less five years.” After a meeting in Jerusalem between Defense Secretary Perry and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, they announced that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in seven to 15 years.
On February 15, 1996, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak told members of the UN Security Council that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004.
On April 29, 1996, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres claimed in an interview with ABC that “the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option” and would “reach nuclear weapons” in four years. By 1997 the Israelis confidently predicted an active Iranian nuclear bomb by 2005.
In March 1997, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director John Holum again attested to a House panel that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon sometime between 2005 and 2007.
The following month, according to a report in Hamburg’s Welt am Sonntag, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) believed Iran had an active nuclear weapons development program and would be able to produce nuclear weapons by 2002, “although that timeframe could be accelerated if Iran acquires weapons-grade fissile material on the black market.” Eight days later, in early May 1997, a Los Angeles Times article quoted a senior Israeli intelligence official as stating that Iran would be able to make a nuclear bomb by “the middle of the next decade.”
On June 26, 1997, the U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf, General Binford Peay, stated that, were Iran to acquire access to fissile material, it would obtain nuclear weapons “sometime at the turn of the century, the near-end of the turn of the century.”
In September 1997, Jane’s Intelligence Defense Review reported that former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher declared, “we know that since the mid-1980s, Iran has had an organized structure dedicated to acquiring and developing nuclear weapons,” as then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Iranian nuclear technology program “may be the most dangerous development in the 21st century.”
Writing in the Jerusalem Post on April 9, 1998, Steve Rodan claimed “Documents obtained by the Jerusalem Post show Iran has four nuclear bombs.” The next day, U.S. State Department spokesperson James Rubin addressed this allegation, stating, “There was no evidence to substantiate such claims.”
On October 21, 1998, General Anthony Zinni, head of U.S. Central Command, said Iran could have deliverable nuclear weapons by 2003. “If I were a betting man,” he said, “I would say they are on track within five years, they would have the capability.”
The next year, on November 21, 1999, a senior Israeli military official was quoted by AP reporter Ron Kampeas (who was later hired as Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) saying, “Unless the United States pressures Russia to end its military assistance to Iran, the Islamic republic will possess a nuclear capability within five years.”
On December 9, 1999, General Zinni reiterated his assessment that Iran “will have nuclear capability in a few years.”
In a January 2000 New York Times article co-authored by Judith Miller, it was reported that the CIA suggested to the Clinton administration “that Iran might now be able to make a nuclear weapon,” even though this assessment was “apparently not based on evidence that Iran’s indigenous efforts to build a bomb have achieved a breakthrough,” but rather that “the United States cannot track with great certainty increased efforts by Iran to acquire nuclear materials and technology on the international black market.”
On March 9, 2000, the BBC stated that German intelligence once again believed Iran to be “working to develop missiles and nuclear weapons.” The Telegraph reported on September 27, 2000 that the CIA believes Iran’s nuclear weapons capability to be progressing rapidly and suggests Iran will develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching London or New York within the next decade. CIA Deputy Director Norman Schindler is quoted as saying, “Iran is attempting to develop the capability to produce both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and it is actively pursuing the acquisition of fissile material and the expertise and technology necessary to form the material into nuclear weapons.”
By the summer of 2001, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was warning that Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2005 and that, sometime in the next decade, the Iranian nuclear program would reach a “point of no return,” from which time “it would be impossible to stop it from attaining a bomb.” By the end of the year, despite an inquiry into the questionable validity of Israeli intelligence regarding the Iranian nuclear program, Mossad head Efraim Halevy repeated the claim that Iran is developing nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.
In early 2002, the CIA again issued a report alleging that Iran “remains one of the most active countries seeking to acquire (weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons) technology from abroad…In doing so, Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons — chemical, biological, nuclear — and their delivery systems.” Soon thereafter, CIA Director George Tenet testified before a Senate hearing that Iran may be able to “produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this decade…Obtaining material from outside could cut years from this estimate.”
During his “Axis-of-Evil” State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, George W. Bush declared that Iran was “aggressively” pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
On July 29, 2002, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Marshall Billingslea testified to the Senate that “Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons.” Three days later, after a meeting with Russian officials on August 1, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham stated that Iran was “aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons as well as [other] weapons of mass destruction.” By the end of the year, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was reiterating U.S. concerns about, what he termed, Iran’s “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities.”
In an interview with CNBC on February 2003, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said that Iran is seeking technological assistance from North Korea and China to enhance its weapons of mass destruction programs. In April 2003, John Wolf, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, accused Iran of having an “alarming, clandestine program.”
That same month, the Los Angeles Times stated that “there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” in a polling question regarding American attitudes toward Iran. The question followed, “Do you think the U.S. should or should not take military action against Iran if they continue to develop these weapons?” Fifty percent of respondents thought the U.S. should attack Iran.
The Telegraph reported on June 1, 2003 that “Senior Pentagon officials are proposing widespread covert operations against the government in Iran, hoping that dissident groups will mount a coup before the regime acquires a nuclear weapon.” The report contained a quote from a U.S. “government official with close links to the White House” as saying “There are some who see the overthrow of the regime as the only way to deal with the danger of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. But there’s not going to be another war. The idea is to destabilize from inside. No one’s talking about invading anywhere.”
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken in late June 2003 asked Americans, “How likely do you think it is that Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction?” 46% of those surveyed said “very likely,” while another 38% said “somewhat likely.” Only 2% replied “not at all likely.”
An August 5, 2003 report in the Jerusalem Post stated that “Iran will have the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb by 2004 and will have an operative nuclear weapons program by 2005, a high-ranking military officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.”
On October 21, 2003, Major General Aharon Ze’evi, Israel’s Director of Military Intelligence, declared in Ha’aretz that “by the summer of 2004, Iran will have reached the point of no return in its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.” A few weeks later, the CIA released a semi-annual unclassified report to Congress which stated Iran had “vigorously” pursued production of weapons of mass destruction and that the “United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.”
By mid-November 2003, Mossad intelligence service chief Meir Dagan testified for the first time before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and said that Iran was close to the “point of no return” in developing nuclear arms.
In early 2004, Ken Brill, U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, reiterated the American position that Iran’s nuclear efforts are “clearly geared to the development of nuclear weapons.” One year later, on January 24, 2005, Mossad chief Meir Dagan again claimed that Iran’s nuclear program was almost at the “point of no return,” adding “the route to building a bomb is a short one” and that Iran could possess a nuclear weapon in less than three years. On January 28, the Guardian quoted Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stating the same thing. He warned that Iran would reach “the point of no return” within the next twelve months in its covert attempt to secure a nuclear weapons capability. A week later, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on CNN that Iran was “on a path of seeking a nuclear weapon,” but admitted that Iran was “years away” from building a nuclear bomb.
By August 2005, a “high-ranking IDF officer” told the Jerusalem Post that Israel has revised its earlier estimate that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 2008, now putting the estimate closer to 2012. The same day, a major U.S. intelligence review projected that Iran was approximately ten years away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, doubling its previous estimate.
Two weeks later, however, Israeli military chief General Aharon Zeevi contradicted both the new Israeli and U.S. estimates. “Barring an unexpected delay,” he said, “Iran is going to become nuclear capable in 2008 and not in 10 years.”
In November 2005, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chair of the so-called National Council of Resistance of Iran (otherwise known as the Islamist/Marxist terrorist cult Mojahadeen-e Khalq, or MEK, which is currently designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government) addressed a European Parliament conference and proclaimed that the “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is determined to pursue and complete Tehran’s nuclear weapons program full blast…[and] would have the bomb in two or three years time.”
On January 18, 2006, Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News that Iran was “acquiring nuclear weapons.”
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey conducted in late January 2006 asked, “Based on what you have heard or read, do you think that the government of Iran is or is not attempting to develop its own nuclear weapons?” 88% of those polled said Iran is.
82% of respondents to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken around the same time believed “Iran wants to use the uranium for military purposes, such as to build a nuclear weapons program.” 68% thought “Iran currently has a nuclear weapons program,” an increase of 8% from the previous year.
CBS News reported on April 26, 2007 that “a new intelligence report says Iran has overcome technical difficulties in enriching uranium and could have enough bomb-grade material for a single nuclear weapon in less than three years.”
In late May 2007, IAEA head Mohammad El Baradei stated that, even if Iran wanted to build a nuclear weapon (despite all evidence to the contrary), it would not be able to “before the end of this decade or some time in the middle of the next decade. In other words three to eight years from now.” On July 11, 2007, Ha’aretz reported that “Iran will cross the ‘technological threshold’ enabling it to independently manufacture nuclear weapons within six months to a year and attain nuclear capability as early as mid-2009, according to Israel’s Military Intelligence.” The report also noted that “U.S. intelligence predicts that Iran will attain nuclear capability within three to six years.”
A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics opinion poll taken in late September 2007 found that 80% of Americans believed Iran’s nuclear program was for “military purposes.”
Israeli President Shimon Peres issued an official statement on October 18, 2007 that claimed “everyone knows [Iran’s] true intentions, and many intelligence agencies throughout the world have proof that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of war and death.”
Less than two months later, the New York Times released “Key Judgments From a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s Nuclear Activity,” a consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. The analysis, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” concluded with “high confidence” that the Iranian government had “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003, “had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007,” and admitted that “we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” The NIE also found that “Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon” and that “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.” Also included in the report was the assessment that, if Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, “the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU [highly enriched uranium] for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely,” continuing, “Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame,” and adding that “All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.”
A report released on February 7, 2008 by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) asserted that Iran had tested a new, and more efficient, centrifuge design to enrich uranium. If 1,200 new centrifuges were operational, the report suggested, Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in one year.
Less than a week later, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert told reporters, “We are certain that the Iranians are engaged in a serious…clandestine operation to build up a non-conventional capacity.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a speech at West Point that Spring, claimed that Iran “is hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons.”
On June 28, 2008, Shabtai Shavit, a former Mossad deputy director and influential adviser to the Israeli Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Sunday Telegraph that “worst-case scenario,” Iran may have a nuclear weapon in “somewhere around a year.”
In November 2008, David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times reported that “Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts.” The article quoted nuclar physicist Richard L. Garwin, who helped invent the hydrogen bomb, as saying “They clearly have enough material for a bomb.” Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University and a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory said in the report that the growing size of the Iranian stockpile “underscored that they are marching down the path to developing the nuclear weapons option,” while Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council declared, “They have a weapon’s worth.” Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist and former United States government arms scientist, cautioned that Iran was “very close” to nuclear weapons capability. “If it isn’t tomorrow, it’s soon,” he said, indicating the threshold could be reached in a matter of months.
David Blair, writing in The Telegraph on January 27, 2009, reported that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) “has said Iran is months away from crossing a vital threshold which could put it on course to build a weapon,” continuing that “Mark Fitzpatrick, the senior fellow for non-proliferation at the IISS, said: ‘This year, it’s very likely that Iran will have produced enough low-enriched uranium which, if further enriched, could constitute enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon, if that is the route Iran so desires.'”
On February 12, 2009, CIA Director-to-be Leon Panetta, told a Capitol Hill hearing, “From all the information I’ve seen, I think there is no question that [Iran is] seeking [nuclear weapons] capability.” Later that month, Benjamin Netanyahu, then a candidate for Israeli Prime Minister, told a Congressional delegation led by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin that “he did not know for certain how close Iran was to developing a nuclear weapons capability, but that ‘our experts’ say Iran was probably only one or two years away and that was why they wanted open ended negotiations.” Soon after that, Israel’s top intelligence official Amos Yadlin said Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and was now capable of making a weapon.
In contrast to these allegations, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told a Senate hearing in early March 2009 that Iran had only low-enriched uranium, which would need further processing to be used for weapons, and continued to explain that Iran had “not yet made that decision” to convert it. “We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium,” Blair said.
Speaking in private with U.S. Congressmembers in late Spring 2009, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak “estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable.” In mid-June 2009, Mossad chief Meir Dagan said, “the Iranians will have by 2014 a bomb ready to be used, which would represent a concrete threat for Israel.”
On July 8, 2009, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned that the “window is closing” for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Mullen claimed that Iran was only one to three years away from successfully building a nuclear weapon and “is very focused on developing this capability.” A week later, Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency declared Iran was capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months.
The following month, on August 3, The Times (UK) reported that Iran had “perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead” and “could feasibly make a bomb within a year” if given the order by head of state Ali Khamenei.
Meanwhile, a Newsweek report from September 16, 2009, indicated that the National Intelligence Estimate stood by its 2007 assessment and that “U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed.”
Nevertheless, both ABC News/Washington Post and CNN/Opinion Research Corporation polls taken in mid-October 2009 found that, “Based on what [they]’ve heard or read,” between 87% and 88% of respondents believed Iran to be developing nuclear weapons.
In November 2009, during a private meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Alexander Vershbow, and a number of senior Israeli defense officials in Israel, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry Intelligence Analysis Production, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, “argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons.”
The Times (UK) reported on January 10, 2010 that retired Israeli brigadier-general and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission Uzi Eilam “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons,” despite the dire warnings from Major-General Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, who had recently told the Knesset defense committee that Iran would most likely be able to build a single nuclear device within the year.
In an interview with the U.S. military’s Voice of America on January 12, 2010, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, said there was no evidence that Iran has made a final decision to build nuclear weapons and confirmed that the key NIE finding that Iran has not yet committed itself to nuclear weapons was still valid. “The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true,” he said. “We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program.”
Barack Obama, in his first State of the Union speech on January 27, 2010 claimed that Iran was “violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Speaking in Doha, Qatar on February 14, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed, what she called, “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Although Clinton said that the United States was attempting to “influence the Iranian decision regarding whether or not to pursue a nuclear weapon,” she added that “the evidence is accumulating that that’s exactly what they are trying to do, which is deeply concerning, because it doesn’t directly threaten the United States, but it directly threatens a lot of our friends, allies, and partners here in this region and beyond.”
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, taken at the same time as Clinton’s Doha visit, revealed that 71% of Americans believed Iran already had nuclear weapons. Of those remaining respondents who didn’t think Iran already possessed a nuclear bomb, over 72% thought it either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that “Iran will have nuclear weapons in the next few years.”
At an April 14, 2010 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lieutenant General Burgess, stated that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a year and in three years build one that could be deployed, despite having judged that Iran didn’t even have an active nuclear weapons program a mere four months earlier.
Perennial warmongers David Sanger and William Broad of the New York Times reported on May 31, 2010 that “Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.”
On June 11, 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that “Most people believe that the Iranians could not really have any nuclear weapons for at least another year or two. I would say the intelligence estimates range from one to three years.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on June 24, 2010, introduced by Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of California, that “condemn[ed] the Government of Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and unconventional weapons and ballistic missile capabilities.”
CIA Director Leon Panetta said on June 27, 2010, Iran would need two years to prepare two tested and operational nuclear weapons. “We think they have enough low-enriched uranium for two weapons,” Panetta told Jake Tapper of ABC News, continuing to explain that Iran would require one year to enrich the material to weapon-grade levels and “another year to develop the kind of weapon delivery system in order to make that viable.”
On July 22, 2010, nearly a third of House Republicans signed onto a resolution which stated that “Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons” and “express[ed] support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.”
On August 19, 2010, the New York Times quoted Gary Samore, President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues, as saying that the U.S. believes Iran has “roughly a year dash time” before it could convert nuclear material into a working weapon.
Following the release of the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Telegraph declared that Iran was “on [the] brink of [a] nuclear weapon,” had “passed a crucial nuclear threshold,” and “could now go on to arm an atomic missile with relative ease.”
In his attention-grabbing September 2009 cover story for The Atlantic, entitled “The Point of No Return,” Israeli establishment mouthpiece Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that, according to Israeli intelligence estimates, “Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability (often understood to be the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device within about three months of deciding to do so).”
Joint Chiefs chairman Mullen, speaking in Bahrain on December 18, 2010, said, “From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region.”
A week ago, on December 22, 2010, the great prognosticator Sarah Palin wrote in USA Today that “Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Just today, December 29, 2010, Reuters quotes Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon as claiming Iran would soon have a nuclear weapon. “I don’t know if it will happen in 2011 or in 2012, but we are talking in terms of the next three years,” he said, adding that in terms of Iran’s nuclear time-line, “we cannot talk about a ‘point of no return.’ Iran does not currently have the ability to make a nuclear bomb on its own.”
Despite all of these hysterical warnings, no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has ever been revealed. The IAEA has repeatedly found, through intensive, round-the-clock monitoring and inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities – including numerous surprise visits to Iranian enrichment plants – that all of Iran’s centrifuges operate under IAEA safeguards and “continue to be operated as declared.”
As far back as 1991, then-Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, made it clear that there was “no cause for concern” regarding Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear technology. Twelve years later, in an IAEA report from November 2003, the agency affirmed that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” Furthermore, after extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, the IAEA again concluded in its November 2004 report that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”
During a press conference in Washington D.C. on October 27, 2007, IAEA Director-General El Baradei confirmed, “I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now.” He continued, “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weapons program? No.”
By May 2008, the IAEA still reported that it had found “no indication” that Iran has or ever did have a nuclear weapons program and affirmed that “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [to weaponization] in Iran.” On February 22, 2009, IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming even issued a statement clarifying the IAEA’s position regarding the flurry of deliberately misleading articles in the US and European press claiming that Iran had enriched enough uranium “to build a nuclear bomb.” The statement, among other things, declared that “No nuclear material could have been removed from the [Nantanz] facility without the Agency’s knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material has been kept under seal.”
This assessment was reaffirmed in September 2009, in response to various media reports over the past few years claiming that Iran’s intent to build a nuclear bomb can be proven by information provided from a mysterious stolen laptop and a dubious, undated – and forged – two-page document. The IAEA stated, “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”
In his Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered on February 2, 2010, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair stated, “We continue to assess [that] Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”
In a Spring 2010 Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis Peter Lavoy affirmed that “we do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to produce nuclear weapons.”
Speaking with Charlie Rose in November 2010, Blair once again reiterated that “Iran hasn’t made up its mind” whether or not to pursue nuclear weaponry. On November 28, 2010, a diplomatic cable made available by Wikileaks revealed that, in December 2009, senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher that “he was not sure Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon.”
Back in October 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright as saying, with regard to new reports about a possible Iranian nuclear weapons program revealed by the MEK, “We should be very suspicious about what our leaders or the exile groups say about Iran’s nuclear capacity.”
Albright continued, “There is a drumbeat of allegations, but there’s not a whole lot of solid information. It may be that Iran has not made the decision to build nuclear weapons. We have to be very careful not to overstate the intelligence.”
It appears that nothing much has changed in the past seven years, let alone the previous three decades.
Whereas the new year will surely bring more lies and deception about Iran and its nuclear energy program, more doublespeak and duplicity regarding the threat Iran poses to the United States, to Israel and to U.S.-backed Arab dictatorships, and more warmongering and demonization from Zionist think tanks, right-wing and progressive pundits alike, the 112th Congress and the Obama administration, the truth is not on their side.
“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams said in 1770. “And whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
Here’s hoping that, in 2011, the facts will begin to matter.
Happy New Year.
Just hours after this article was posted, United Press International published the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by Angus-Reid. The poll found that 70% of respondents believe “the Government of Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Only 11 per cent of Americans do not believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program, while one-in-five (19%) are not sure.”
Originally posted AT
The Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip two years ago, which lasted for three weeks, was pornographically criminal and graphically genocidal. Israel knowingly and deliberately targeted innocent civilians, including children, using state-of-the-art machines of death.
Entire families were simply exterminated at the pretext that a member was involved with the resistance. Homes, hospitals, mosques and other public buildings were obliterated. Even terrified and thoroughly terrorized people raising white banners were mercilessly riddled with bullets.
The sheer criminality of the Israeli army gave the impression that Israeli soldiers were probably trying to mimic Old Testament savagery by murdering men, women, and children, and by destroying and annihilating all that breathe!!
The genocidal onslaught on Gaza is sufficient to render Israel an illegitimate state. No state under the sun, Jewish or otherwise, should behave in such a nefarious manner and remain legitimate.
Don’t mention the holocaust. In the final analysis, since when did Israel have the right to utilize one holocaust in order to commit another? Or use it as red herring to divert attention from its genocidal atrocities against its victims?
To cover her crimes against humanity, Israel used her effective lying machine to the fullest. It claimed that Israel was coming under attack from Gaza and that it was merely exercising self-defense.
Such a claim, coming from a country that is based on mass murder, ethnic cleansing and land theft, is very much analogous to an imagined claim by the Third Reich that it was forced to deal stringently with Jews because SS soldiers had been coming under attack from Jewish resistance fighters at Ghetto Warsaw.
I am making this comparison because as soon as Israel ostensibly left Gaza in 2005, it imposed a hermetically tight blockade on the coastal enclave, turning it into the largest open- air prison in the world. Gazans were tormented and savaged and starved in manners unseen since Ghetto Warsaw, or probably the great Ukrainian starvation under Stalin.
Israel simply wanted Gazans to die unwept and as quietly as possible. However, when Gazans found out that they had nothing to lose; they decided to die standing on their feet, rather than walking meekly to the Israeli slaughterhouse.
Israel rained death on Gaza for 21 consecutive days, hoping to get the people of Gaza to crawl on their hands and feet, begging for mercy from an army that combined all the elements of barbarianism and brutality of the Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS combined.
However, much of the so-called international community kept up looking on as Gaza was being killed and raped as if these abominations were occurring on a distant planet.
There is no doubt the pornographic apathy with which the so-called civilized world related to the shameful Israeli aggression in Gaza two years ago represented an all-time low in the world’s morality.
What else can be said of powerful states, some of which are considered cornerstones of the international system, which related to the attempted lynching of nearly 2 million Gazans by merely saying that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”!! What kind of fornication with language is this, coming from the President of the most powerful nation on earth?
To be sure, moral depravity was by means the lot of an evil empire that allowed itself to be transformed into a big whore by Israel and her supporters. Many other countries betrayed and continued to betray Gaza, including countries that shamelessly claim to be Arab and Islamic.
Unfortunately, the passage of two years since the clouds of death were hovering over Gaza has not brought any solace. The brutal ugliness of a manifestly fascist Israel is as conspicuous as ever. And Israel continues to gang up on Gaza, barring the victims of the 2008-2009 aggression from rebuilding their homes by preventing building materials from getting through into Gaza.
It is true that the overall humanitarian situation in Gaza is slightly better in comparison to what it was two years ago. However, it is also true that whatever improvement there has been is not a result of Israeli magnanimity but rather a cynical attempt to enhance her tarnished image.
This is why the free-minded people of the world must stay focused on Gaza lest Israel decides to reactivate her genocidal instincts and gang up on Gaza’s children again.
We must not allow ourselves to forget the cardinal fact that the murder of Palestinian children has always been a well-guarded Zionist tradition. Unfortunately, there is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that the Zionist entity is about to forgo this evil but intrinsic tradition which for most Zionists constitutes a way of life.
Geraldine Doyle, Iconic Face of World War II, Dies at 86
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, who was believed to be the unwitting model for the “We Can Do It!” poster of a woman flexing her biceps in a factory during World War II — an image that later became a symbol for the American feminist movement — died on Sunday in Lansing, Mich. She was 86.
Mrs. Doyle was unaware of the poster’s existence until 1982, when, while thumbing through a magazine, she saw a photograph of it and recognized herself. Her daughter said that the face on the poster was her mother’s, but that the muscles were not.
“She didn’t have big, muscular arms,” Mrs. Gregg said. “She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face — that’s her.”
In 1942, when she was 17, Geraldine Hoff took a job as a metal presser at a factory near her home in Inkster, Mich., near Detroit, to aid the war effort, Mrs. Gregg said. One day, a United Press photographer came in to shoot images of working women.
The resulting poster, designed by the graphic artist J.Howard Miller, was used in a Westinghouse Company campaign to deter strikes and absenteeism. It was not widely seen until the early 1980s, when it was embraced by feminists.
She quit the factory job after about two weeks because she learned that another woman had damaged her hands while using the metal presser, and she feared that such an injury would prevent her from playing the cello, her daughter said.
At one of her next jobs, at a soda fountain, she met her husband, Leo H. Doyle, a dental student. They had been married for 66 years when he died this year.
In addition to Mrs. Gregg, she is survived by four other children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Islam
A conservative commentator recently made headlines by claiming 10 percent of all of the world’s Muslims are terrorists. An amazing claim, considering that equals 150 million terrorists and if each were to pull off an attack killing just 40 people, they could exterminate all non-Muslim life on earth.
Either they’re not all that dedicated to terrorism, or the claim is utter insanity.
Well, if there’s one thing everyone thinks of when they hear “Cracked.com” it’s “friend of Islam.” Which is why we feel compelled to clarify a few misconceptions for our readers. Also, there is no way this article will ever come back to haunt us in any way.
For millions of people in the West, when you say “Islam,” the first mental image that pops into mind is this:
A two-person Scotch-garded version would sell like hotcakes.
A woman covered head to toe in a burqa. The truth is, if you could suddenly gather all of the Muslim women on the planet into one giant room and had to throw a football to someone wearing a burqa, it’d be next to impossible to complete that pass.
But the whole hide-them-under-a-veil thing must be pretty big among Muslim communities, otherwise Europe wouldn’t be all in in a dither over the things, pushing for bans and whatnot. Right?
Look at them there, plotting new ways to drive super-slow in the HOV lane.
After all, we all know that Islam hates women — the fact that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually prohibits women from driving, or that only predominantly Muslim countries still use death by stoning as a punishment for adultery, proves it, right?
Thinking that all Muslim women have to dress like this…
…is like thinking that all Christian women have to dress like this:
That photo is from one of several small Christian sects that require women to dress like it’s Little House on the Prairie.
Then again, these were French police.
Not 367,000, but 367, a number so small that from a statistical point of view, it’s barely enough to register as a margin of error. As for the rest of Europe, the numbers are even more disastrous for the burqa business (for instance, Belgium has 500,000 Muslims, a couple dozen wear the burqa).
Yes, there are Middle Eastern countries where the veils are required by law (namely Iran and Saudi Arabia) and combined those countries have less than 5 percent of the world’s Muslims. There are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them. They can do that because wearing a veil is not required in Islam but is more of a custom, depending on where you live and who’s in charge.
Much like hot pants.
Hey, speaking of which, try this number on for size: Of the five most populous Muslim-majority nations, four of them have elected female heads of state.
So there’s a fantastic chance that in 2012, Sarah Palin will be campaigning for an achievement that Muslim ladies have already accomplished.
We bet Megawati Sukarnoputri knows the United States doesn’t have a Department of Law.
It’s easy to stand on a soapbox and publicly bluster about what you think the Founding Fathers would think about the godless, multicultural United States today. After all, these were Christian, God-fearing men, damn it. They certainly wouldn’t put up with all this tolerance for these terrorist religions.
Thomas Jefferson, moments before leaping into the air on a giant eagle and drop-kicking Saladin.
It’s a good thing some Americans are standing up for good old-fashioned American values and passing laws to prohibit Islamic law from taking over the U.S., because that’s totally around the corner! Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson is smiling in his grave!
Even if they were staunch Christians (or deists, whatever), plenty of the Founding Fathers had a healthy admiration for the Muslim faith. Thomas Jefferson, for example, taught himself Arabic using his own copy of the Quran and hosted the first White House Iftar during Ramadan.
Jefferson believed in celebrating the deliciousness of all world religions.
John Adams hailed the Islamic prophet Muhammad as one of the great “inquirers after truth.” Benjamin Rush, who was so Christian he wanted a Bible in every school, also said he would rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammad “inculcated upon our youth” than see them grow deprived “of a system of religious principles.” Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” Even George fucking Washington personally welcomed Muslims to come work for him at Mount Vernon.
So, why all this Founding Father/Muslim love? Probably because Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah of Morocco was the first world figure to recognize the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1777. Another reason was that the Founding Fathers were smart enough to distinguish between terrorists and everybody else on the whole damn planet, as demonstrated in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797. It was in this agreement that the U.S. declared: “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen [Moslems].“
Another possible translation.
Remember that crazy lady with the Einstein hair who asked John McCain if Barack Obama was an Arab? No? Well, let us refresh your memory:
The instant John McCain realized that he would never, ever be president.
We’re willing to bet there’s more than a 20 percent chance this woman meant to say “Muslim” but accidentally said “Arab” because same thing, right? And even if you’re not in the tea party camp, where you’re convinced “Arab” and “Muslim” are interchangeable, you’ve probably operated under a similar assumption: that non-Jewish Middle Eastern people are Muslim and that most Muslims live in the Middle East.
Only about 20 percent of the entire world’s Muslim population is Arab or North African. For comparison, about 22 percent of the global Christian population is African, yet when somebody says “Christian,” you don’t immediately picture a dude from Africa. Equating “Muslim” with “Arab” makes just as much sense.
That’d be like associating “Kansas” with “hate-filled douchebags”.
While we in the West have been conditioned to associate Islam with the Middle East, a whopping 61.9 percent of all Muslims — aka a supermajority — don’t live in the Middle East at all; most Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. Indonesia alone is home to more than 200 million Muslims, and the Indian subcontinent has roughly a half-billion Muslims.
It works the other way, too. For example, if you think being Arab guarantees you being Muslim these days, well, we are sorry to disappoint. As much as 10 percent of the world’s Arab population is Christian (that’s more than 14 million people). That means there are 1 million more Arab Christians than, oh, we don’t know … the world’s entire Jewish population..
Western Cultures Are Far More Humane Than the Bloodthirsty Muslims
Even before the whole terrorism thing, Islam had a reputation in the West for violence. Part of it has to do with how abruptly Islam was all up in everyone’s face. For instance, while Hinduism took about 1,000 years to spread through India, and Christianity took about 400 years to go from persecuted cult to the state religion of the Roman Empire, Islam went from one guy’s epiphany to the dominant political and religious force in the Middle East and North Africa in about 100 years.
So a lot of people have reached the conclusion that the religion spread like holy wildfire for one reason: the sword. The next logical leap from this viewpoint is that as a people, Muslims must be violent and barbaric conquerors. Even before 9/11, you saw this portrayal in popular culture all the time:
Muhammad laid out some pretty progressive rules of warfare, and medieval Muslims out-niced the Christians in battle by a landslide. Especially since Muhammad personally issued “a distinct code of conduct among Islamic warriors” that included:
In short, Muhammad wanted his armies to fight like freaking hippies. During the fucking Dark Ages. And they did.
But the biggest territorial gains were made after Muhammad’s death, right? Maybe that was when Islam earned its bloodthirsty reputation? Not exactly. His successor codified the existing rules and made them the standard for his army. Which probably explains why the Muslim army conquering Europe “exhibited a degree of toleration which puts many Christian nations to shame,” in the words of one expert.
So while Christian crusaders were beheading enemies and tossing their heads like oversized hacky sacks, their Muslim counterparts had a whole honor code that led them to feed the armies of their defeated enemies.
Islam Is Stuck in the Dark Ages
There are really three big negative stereotypes about Islam — that it hates women, that it’s violent and that it hates any kind of scientific progress. We’ve covered the first two already, but how can you argue against the third? Their governments are based on ancient religious texts! And what diseases has Iran cured?
In the same way that not all Christians are Young Earth Creationists, plenty of modern Muslims see room for interpretation in the Quran. In fact, 45 percent of American Muslims in one poll said they see evolution as “the best explanation for the origin of human life on Earth,” which isn’t so shabby, considering only 24 percent of evangelical Christians believed the same. The percentage of Muslims embracing the scientific explanation for the origin of life was about the same as Americans as a whole (48 percent).
And historically, they have a hell of a track record. Science and math as we know it wouldn’t even exist without Islam. The Islamic Golden Age caused a revolution in virtually every field of human thought, during which they fucking invented algebra — and advanced everything from geography and exploration to the arts, architecture, philosophy, urban development, medicine and health.
The Muslims actually came pretty damn close to sharing all this brilliance with the truly ass-backward kingdoms of Christian Europe, since the Islamic caliphates blanketed every country they conquered with schools, libraries, public works and the most comprehensive system of social welfare on the planet. In fact, the case has been made that if the caliphates succeeded in conquering all of Europe an Italian Renaissance would have been unnecessary.
How much public influence does a pro-Palestinian Israeli have?
Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak is sentenced to three months in jail for taking part in an illegal demonstration against the blockade of Gaza.
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Monday sentenced left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak to three months’ imprisonment for participating in an illegal gathering in January 2008.
Pollak, 28, is a resident of Tel Aviv and spokesman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, in which several Palestinian popular committees against the occupation participate. The January 2008 demonstration by several dozen activists on bicycles was in protest against the blockade of Gaza.
Judge Itzhak Yitzhak said when reading the sentence: “I am not sentencing the accused on the basis of the ideology embodied in his deeds … An examination of the matter … must be focused on the question whether the accused committed an offense or not.”
In reply, Pollak read from a written statement: “Since I am unable to accept that what I did was wrong … I shall not agree to do community service as an alternative to imprisonment.”
How were you arrested at that demonstration?
It was in the middle of our cycling route, on Bograshov Street in Tel Aviv. I was in the midst of the crowd. Two plainclothes policemen who know me and I know them approached me and took me off my bike. They said something to me like: “We told you if you raised your head, we would cut it off,” and took me to a police van. The rest of the cyclists continued without any interference. No one else was arrested.
When you joined the cyclists, did you know that you were risking arrest?
I knew I was facing a suspended sentence (from a 2004 demonstration ). It’s still difficult for me to see what was illegal, but I knew that the way things are in Israel, there was a chance that the suspension would be enacted.
The prosecutor who asked for a six-month sentence and a fine said that this was an illegal demonstration.
I am not a jurist but to the best of my knowledge, the police orders demand a permit for a demonstration in which more than 50 people participate. The prosecutor, who is a policewoman, is supposed to know that. We were about 40 people.
And had there been 2,000, would you have requested a permit?
I personally wouldn’t have.
Because I don’t believe that when you are demonstrating against a regime, the regime is the one that has to approve the demonstration.
Why do you need all this mess?
I don’t know what other option there is in so extreme a situation, in which four million people are being kept under a military regime without democratic rights by a country that is interested in presenting a democratic image. In a situation where there is a blockade and collective punishment of 1.5 million people, can one hesitate at all whether to hold a very minimalist protest in Tel Aviv? It seems to me part of the duty of a human being, the least we can do. The question is not why I need all this mess but why so few people join in.
I have no reply to that question.
Since when have you been an activist?
Since childhood, at first with my parents. But it is possible to say that this activism has been the center of my life since I was 14 or 15. In various fields and not merely in the struggle against occupation: Animal rights, rights to an apartment for everyone – all these things are interconnected. It’s not possible to develop a coherent political concept that does not see all the injustices that stem from the way in which society functions.
And you want to change society?
It sounds pretentious when you ask it that way. I want to live in a different place. Not geographically – I don’t want to go somewhere else.
What will you miss most when you are in jail?
And to phrase it less bombastically?
To be able to do what I want to do. I don’t think freedom is a bombastic word, it’s the basis for everything. That’s the reason we went out to demonstrate. The opposite of freedom is the blockade against Gaza, discrimination against non-Jews in Israel. That is the substance of jail.
Perhaps you’ll have the chance to rest from your activities for a while in prison?
It doesn’t seem to me that enforced rest, and in those conditions, is the best rest there is. But perhaps it is.
Do you have plans?
Have you not become a wholesale demonstrator? For example, in how many demonstrations do you participate on Fridays?
Only two – and I don’t know what a wholesale demonstrator is. I believe that resistance is also part of the duty of every one of us. I don’t like the way political activity is presented as something martyr-like. I think a great deal of lust is involved, and very strong emotions. And when you see the body of a colleague who has been killed alongside you, and you drag him away from the site, it merely grows stronger.
How many have been killed next to you?
Five. The first was in Nablus, many years ago, during a demonstration against the curfew. I didn’t know him. And my friends – Mohammed Badwan from Bidu, in February 2004. A sniper on a roof hit his head with a live bullet during a demonstration against the fence. And Mohammed and Arafat Khawaja from Na’alin. Both of them were killed this week, two years ago, on the second day of the attack against Gaza. One got a bullet in his head and the other in his back. And there was Aqel Srur who was shot by a sniper in the heart, in June 2009.
Have you managed to influence anyone with your activities?
I don’t know. I don’t think we have to speak about every one of us personally. I believe that the activism of all of us has an effect on reality in all kinds of ways, on people and in other ways. And when I say us, it is first and foremost the Palestinians. It’s important to remember that the popular resistance movement is firstly Palestinian and we, the Israelis, are only a marginal comment. All the same, I’m not trying to minimize our importance.
How long did it take you to write your speech to the court?
Did you get advice from anyone?
After I finished writing it, I sent it to a few people.
And did you change anything?
No. The reactions were that it might be worthwhile to soften it. But I didn’t.
Are you afraid of prison?
Yes. I’m not yet sure of what, but I am.
|Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak.|
|Photo by: Moti Kimche|
Prominent Rabbis’ Wives Tell Fellow Jewish Women Not To Date Arabs
The letter includes gross generalizations about Arabs, specifically referencing Palestinians with Israeli citizenship: “There are quite a few Arab workers who use Hebrew names. Yusuf becomes Yossi, Samir becomes Sami and Abed becomes Ami. They seek your proximity, try to appeal to you and give you all the attention you could ask for, they actually know how to act polite, making you believe they really care – but that behavior is only temporary.”
It continues, “As soon as they have in you in their grasp, in their village, under their complete control – everything becomes different. Your life will never be the same, and the attention you sought will be replaced with curses, physical abuse and humiliation.”
The women give no evidence whatsoever for their claims, and Palestinians immediately condemned the letter for its use of “scare tactics, generalizations and outright racist statements”.
The letter also states, “Your grandmothers never dreamed that one of their descendents would, by one act, remove future generations from the Jewish people. For you, for future generations, and so that you will never have to endure the terrible suffering, we appeal to you, begging, pleading, praying: Don’t date them, don’t work where they work and don’t perform National Service with them.”
This follows on the heels of a religious edict issued by the womens’ husbands, who are all prominent rabbis in Israel, in which they claim that the Jewish holy book, the Torah, forbids the sale or rental of property to non-Jews (specifically referencing Palestinians).
The rabbis and their wives are mainly part of a group called ‘Lehava’, which encourages segregation and discrimination against non-Jews in Israel. The group can be traced back to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who headed an organization called ‘Kach’, which was classified by Israel as ‘terrorist’ for its attacks against civilians. One if the members of that group was Baruch Goldstein, a doctor from Brooklyn, New York, who came to Israel in 1994 to gun down 29 Palestinians praying in a mosque in Hebron.
Over the last several years, anti-Arab sentiments have been on the rise in Israel. A recent study by the Association for Arab Civil Rights in Israel showed that racism against Arabs has doubled in the past several years, and incidents of violence against Palestinians inside Israel are also on the rise.
“Israel engaged in serious repression of non-violent activism”
I appeared on Russia Today this afternoon to discuss the jailing of Jonathan Pollak and what it means for Israeli democracy and Israel’s repression of Palestinian non-violence.
The U.N. Flotilla Report Goes Down the Media’s Black Hole
The return of the Turkish Mavi Marmara to Istanbul and efforts to end the Israeli-Turkish diplomatic chill has produced a number of media reports that mention the May 31 Gaza-bound aid flotilla. But news outlets are continuing to frame the events aboard the flotilla ambivalently, and there is a media blackout of mentioning the one independent report on the Israeli raid that has been released.
The ship was part of an international flotilla carrying supplies to Gaza in a campaign to breach the blockade on Gaza when Israeli troops intercepted the convoy. Eight Turks and an American-Turkish teenager were killed in the violence that erupted on board the Mavi Marmara…
Israel insists commandos opened fire in self-defense after meeting what they called unexpected resistance when they boarded the Mavi Marmara
Israel has refused to apologize, saying that the ship was warned to stay away and that Israeli commandos fired in self-defense after the activists aboard the ship fired first.
In both of these accounts, media outlets–reflecting their slavish devotion to “objectivity”–have avoided explicitly blaming either Israel or the activists for the 9 people that were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara. But by quoting what Israel says and omitting what the activists and the United Nations report on the raid state, mainstream media has de facto created the impression that Israel bears little blame.
The U.N. report, which has gotten little media attention, was written by three human rights experts who found that the raid was “disproportionate” and “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.” It debunked Israel’s claims of “firing in self-defense,” finding that “live ammunition was used from the helicopter onto the top deck prior to the descent of the soldiers” onto the ship. Some more excerpts from the U.N. report that you won’t find in corporate media:
Israeli soldiers continued shooting at passengers who had already been wounded, with live ammunition, soft baton charges (beanbags) and plastic bullets. Forensic analysis demonstrates that two of the passengers killed on the top deck received wounds compatible with being shot at close range while lying on the ground: Furkan Doğan received a bullet in the face and İbrahim Bilgen received a fatal wound from a soft baton round (beanbag) fired at such close proximity to his head that parts such as wadding penetrated his skull and entered his brain. Furthermore, some of the wounded were subjected to further violence, including being hit with the butt of a weapon, being kicked in the head, chest and back and being verbally abused. A number of the wounded passengers were handcuffed and then left unattended for some time before being dragged to the front of the deck by their arms or legs…
In boarding the Mavi Marmara, both from the sea and from the air, the Israeli forces met a level of resistance from some of the passengers on board that was significant and, it appears, unexpected. However, there is no available evidence to support the claim that any of the passengers had or used firearms at any stage. In the initial phases of fighting with the Israeli soldiers on the top deck, three Israeli soldiers were disarmed and taken inside the
ship. At this point, there may have been a justifiable belief of an immediate threat to life or serious injury of certain soldiers which would have justified the use of firearms against specific passengers..
The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution. Furkan Doğan and İbrahim Bilgen were shot at near range while the victims were lying injured on the top deck. Cevdet Kiliçlar, Cengiz Akyüz, Cengiz Songür and Çetin Topçuoğlu were shot on the bridge deck
while not participating in activities that represented a threat to any Israeli soldier. In these instances and possibly other killings on the Mavi Marmara, Israeli forces carried out extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions prohibited by international human rights law, specifically article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Extra legal and summary executions, combined with the fact that the U.N. team found that the Israelis fired first, belie the claim that Israel acted in self-defense and with justification. Israel’s willing media partners should, at the very least, include the conclusions of the U.N. report in their articles on the Mavi Marmara.
Emily Henochowicz lost an eye at a protest at the Qalandiyah checkpoint – she was struck by a teargas grenade
Israeli soldier jailed for stealing one pita
The incident took place in front of his fellow soldiers at a military checkpoint near the city.
The soldier expressed his regret and has since paid the vendor the price of the bread — one shekel (30 US cents).
Israeli activist sentenced to 3 months in prison for protesting Gaza war
Posted by Joseph Dana
Of all the criminals involved with the 2008 Gaza war, an Israeli leftist will be going to jail for riding his bike against the war in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv Magistrates court judge Yitzhak Yitzhak convicted Israeli leftist Jonathan Pollak of illegal assembly for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass ride against the siege on Gaza and then sentenced him to three months imprisonment that will begin on January 11th, 2011. Pollak was the only one detained at the said protest, and was accused of doing nothing other than riding his bicycle in the same manner as the rest of the protesters. The conviction activates an older three-month suspended sentence imposed on Pollak in a previous trial for protesting the construction of the Separation Barrier. An additional three month prison term was also imposed for the current conviction, which will be served concurrently. His imprisonment is part of a clear strategy of silencing dissent in the Israeli left.
Jonathan Pollak is one of the founders of the Israeli leftist group “Anarchists Against the Wall“, which join weekly unarmed Palestinian protests throughout the West Bank against the Separation Wall and the Occupation. Since 2008, he has served the media coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, an Palestinian umbrella organization designed to garner media attention for the unarmed struggle in the West Bank. On his conviction, Pollak argued for his sentence, saying “I find myself unable to express remorse in this case … If His Honor decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza’s inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.”
On January 31, 2008, some thrity Israeli protesters participated in a Critical Mass bicycle ride through the streets of Tel Aviv against the siege on Gaza. During the protest, Pollak was arrested by plain-clothes police who recognized him from previous protests and because, as claimed in court, they assumed he was the organizer and figurehead of the event. The protest was allowed to continue undisturbed after Pollak’s arrest and ended with no further incidents or detentions.
The arrest and subsequent indictment appears to be the result of police vindictiveness, rather than of Pollak’s behavior at the time of the event; Pollak was but one in a group of protesters who behaved exactly like him, yet he was the only one to be singled out. Moreover, environmental Critical Mass events take place in Tel Aviv on a regular basis, but have never been met with such a response. Other protests, which have caused far more severe obstruction of traffic (e.g. the motorcade protest of thousands of motorcycles) did not result in arrests, and surely did not lead to the filing of criminal charges and imprisonment.
According to Pollak’s lawyer, Adv. Gaby Lasky, “The police not only singled out Pollak from a crowd of people who all did exactly as he did, but also singled out the entire protest for no reason other than its political alignment. Similar events regularly take place in Tel Aviv without police intervention, let alone arrests and indictments.”
During the trial, an Israeli supporter of Pollak was violently removed from the courthouse for wearing a shirt that said “there is no pride in occupation.” After the verdict was handed down, supporters began chanting in the courtroom against Israeli fascism and the occupation. They were forcibly removed one by one from the courthouse and subsequently held a demonstration on the sidewalk.
Despite evidence of Israeli wrongdoing in the course of the Gaza war, the only Israeli sentenced to jail so far is a leftist who choose to ride his bike through Tel Aviv in non-violent protest. The state of Israel sent a clear message with this verdict: that it will not tolerate dissent from the left. In fact, the state persecutor asked for a severe sentence in order to ‘make an example out of Pollak and those who engage in similar anti-occupation work.” Pollak said that he will continue to work with Palestinians against the occupation and repeatedly cited the much harsher verdicts given to Palestinians involved in non-violent protests. The only remorse that he showed was that he did not do enough to express dissent about the siege of Gaza. If peacefully riding a bike against violent aggression is a crime, Pollak said that we will happily go to jail. The fragility of Israeli democracy is on full display when one of its privileged sons can’t even ride a bike in protest of an aggressive and violent war on a besieged people.
|27 December 2008: Israel began its deadly three-week assault on Gaza. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)
The UN-commissioned Goldstone Report documented evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in an attack aimed at the very “foundations of civilian life in Gaza” — schools, industrial infrastructure, water, sanitation, flour mills, mosques, universities, police stations, government ministries, agriculture and thousands of homes. Yet like so many other inquiries documenting Israeli crimes, the Goldstone Report sits gathering dust as the United States, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority and certain Arab governments colluded to ensure it would not translate into action.
Israel launched the attack, after breaking the ceasefire it had negotiated with Hamas the previous June, under the bogus pretext of stopping rocket firing from Gaza.
During those horrifying weeks from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, Israel’s merciless bombardment killed 1,417 people according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza.
They were infants like Farah Ammar al-Helu, one-year-old, killed in al-Zaytoun. They were schoolgirls or schoolboys, like Islam Khalil Abu Amsha, 12, of Shajaiyeh and Mahmoud Khaled al-Mashharawi, 13, of al-Daraj. They were elders like Kamla Ali al-Attar, 82 of Beit Lahiya and Madallah Ahmed Abu Rukba, 81, of Jabaliya; They were fathers and husbands like Dr. Ehab Jasir al-Shaer. They were police officers like Younis Muhammad al-Ghandour, aged 24. They were ambulance drivers and civil defense workers. They were homemakers, school teachers, farmers, sanitation workers and builders. And yes, some of them were fighters, battling as any other people would to defend their communities with light and primitive weapons against Israel’s onslaught using the most advanced weaponry the United States and European Union could provide.
The names of the dead fill 100 pages, but nothing can fill the void they left in their families and communities (“The Dead in the course of the Israeli recent military offensive on the Gaza strip between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009,” [PDF] Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 18 March 2009).
These were not the first to die in Israeli massacres and they have not been the last. Dozens of people have been killed since the end of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead,” the latest Salameh Abu Hashish last week, a 20-year old shepherd shot by Israeli occupation forces as he tended his animals in northern Gaza.
But the tragedy does not end with those who were killed. Along with thousands permanently injured, there is the incalculable psychological cost of children growing up without parents, of parents burying their children, and the mental trauma that Israel’s offensive and the ongoing siege has done to almost everyone in Gaza. There are the as yet unknown consequences of subjecting Gaza’s 700,000 children to a toxic water supply for years on end.
The siege robs 1.5 million people not just of basic goods, reconstruction supplies (virtually nothing has been rebuilt in Gaza), and access to medical care but of their basic rights and freedoms to travel, to study, to be part of the world. It robs promising young people of their ambitions and futures. It deprives the planet of all that they would have been able to create and offer. By cutting Gaza off from the outside world, Israel hopes to make us forget that the those inside are human.
Two years after the crime, Gaza remains a giant prison for a population whose unforgivable sin in the eyes of Israel and its allies is to be refugees from lands that Israel took by ethnic cleansing.
Israel’s violence against Gaza, like its violence against Palestinians everywhere, is the logical outcome of the racism that forms the inseparable core of Zionist ideology and practice: Palestinians are merely a nuisance, like brush or rocks to be cleared away in Zionism’s relentless conquest of the land. This is what all Palestinians are struggling against, as an open letter today from dozens of civil society organizations in Gaza reminds us:
“We Palestinians of Gaza want to live at liberty to meet Palestinian friends or family from Tulkarem, Jerusalem or Nazareth; we want to have the right to travel and move freely. We want to live without fear of another bombing campaign that leaves hundreds of our children dead and many more injured or with cancers from the contamination of Israel’s white phosphorous and chemical warfare. We want to live without the humiliations at Israeli checkpoints or the indignity of not providing for our families because of the unemployment brought about by the economic control and the illegal siege. We are calling for an end to the racism that underpins all this oppression.”
Those of us who live outside Gaza can look to the people there for inspiration and strength; even after all this deliberate cruelty, they have not surrendered. But we cannot expect them to bear this burden alone or ignore the appalling cost Israel’s unrelenting persecution has on the minds and bodies of people in Gaza or on society itself. We must also heed their calls to action.
One year ago, I joined more than a thousand people from dozens of countries on the Gaza Freedom March in an attempt to reach Gaza to commemorate the first anniversary of the massacre. We found our way blocked by the Egyptian government which remains complicit, with US backing, in the Israeli siege. And although we did not reach Gaza, other convoys before, and after, such as Viva Palestina did, only after severe obstruction and limitations by Egypt.
Yesterday, the Mavi Marmara returned to Istanbul where it was met dockside by thousands of people. In May the ship was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which set out to break the siege by sea, only to be attacked and hijacked in international waters by Israeli commandos who killed nine people and injured dozens. Even that massacre has not deterred more people from seeking to break the siege; the Asian Convoy to Gaza is on its way, and several other efforts are being planned.
We may look at all these initiatives and say that despite their enormous cost — including in human lives — the siege remains unbroken, as world governments — the so-called “international community” — continue to ensure Israeli impunity. Two years later, Gaza remains in rubble, and Israel keeps the population always on the edge of a deliberately-induced humanitarian catastrophe while allowing just enough supplies to appease international opinion. It would be easy to be discouraged.
However, we must remember that the Palestinian people in Gaza are not objects of an isolated humanitarian cause, but partners in the struggle for justice and freedom throughout Palestine. Breaking the siege of Gaza would be a milestone on that march.
Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament and a passenger on the Mavi Marmara explained last October in an interview with The Electronic Intifada that Israeli society and government do not view their conflict with the Palestinians as one that must be resolved by providing justice and equality to victims, but merely as a “security” problem. Zoabi observed that the vast majority of Israelis believe Israel has largely “solved” the security problem: in the West Bank with the apartheid wall and “security coordination” between Israeli occupation forces and the collaborationist Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and in Gaza with the siege.
Israeli society, Zoabi concluded, “doesn’t feel the need for peace. They don’t perceive occupation as a problem. They don’t perceive the siege as a problem. They don’t perceive oppressing the Palestinians as a problem, and they don’t pay the price of occupation or the price of [the] siege [of Gaza].”
Thus the convoys and flotillas are an essential part of a larger effort to make Israel understand that it does have a problem and it can never be treated as a normal state until it ends its oppression and occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and fully respects the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees. And even if governments continue to stand by and do nothing, global civil society is showing the way with these efforts to break the siege, and with the broader Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
Amid all the suffering, Palestinians have not celebrated many victories in the two years since the Gaza massacre. But there are signs that things are moving in the right direction. Israel begs for US-endorsed “peace negotiations” precisely because it knows that while the “peace process” provides cover for its ongoing crimes, it will never be required to give up anything or grant any rights to Palestinians in such a “process.”
Yet Israel is mobilizing all its resources to fight the global movement for justice, especially BDS, that has gained so much momentum since the Gaza massacre. There can be no greater confirmation that this movement brings justice within our grasp. Our memorial to all the victims must not be just an annual commemoration, but the work we do every day to make the ranks of this movement grow.
The encyclopedia, dubbed “the Gaza Holocaust”, is the product of drawn out efforts by the foundation’s strategic research and studies center, said foundation head Mohammed al-Madhoun. “More than 120 of the foundation’s field researchers contributed to this remarkable work, as well as many more from research centers, rights foundations, and ministries.”
The idea, sparked at the time of Israel’s aggression, was to document the suffering and crimes that occurred during the war. “The encyclopedia contributes to the decay of Israel’s legitimacy in the framework of a battle that stripped Israel of its moral and humanitarian legitimacy.”
The reference book attempts to correct the past mistake of not recording Israel’s crimes. “The encyclopedia therefore protects history from being falsified, and provides a reliable reference with voice and picture.”
The name “the Gaza Holocaust” was part of the name battle that Israel had been playing in an attempt to monopolize names. The named heroic disaster was therefore named the holocaust.
Madhoun called on media agencies to deliver the encyclopedia to every household in the world. “The encyclopedia should be translated into English, and then continued to be developed and supported with more data and documents.”
He added that the reference followed a new approach in documenting history and building cases against criminals in light of the current information revolution.
Shin Bet puts Israeli ‘anarchists’ in crosshairs
Security forces’ Jewish Department warns leftist activists that they might be found to be violating the law.
By Amira Hass
The two security cadets at Ben-Gurion International Airport stood by the plane’s door. That Friday, December 17, they were waiting not for some Mohammad, but rather for a Cohen. Matan Cohen.
He disembarked, and they followed him through passport control. From there he was taken to a small interrogation room. The duty policeman told Cohen, 22, a student at Hampshire College, that he was being detained on suspicion of “hostile activity.”
Cohen: “Was it you who decided to detain me?”
Policeman: “No, security elements did.”
Cohen: “Meaning the Shin Bet security service?”
Policeman: “Yes, the Shin Bet’s Jewish department.”
Four more people in civilian clothes examined Cohen’s possessions. It took them two and a half hours. They asked some questions that showed Cohen they did not know a thing about him. (He is an anarchist activist and one of the coordinators of BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel – in the United States. ) They told him they did not have the security clearance to gain access to his file.
“We merely were warned that you are suspected of terrorist activity,” which means they have to go through his bags, they said. After the examination, he was taken back to the policeman, who said, “If it were up to me, I would let you go already. I’m waiting for a telephone call from the head of the Jewish department.”
Cohen: “[Am I] a suspect in something?”
Policeman: “You’re not a suspect. You’re suspected.”
Cohen: “Your grammar is amazing.”
Policeman: “It means that they think you’re connected to something but you are not suspected of anything concrete.”
Cohen: “In other words, you can detain me whenever you wish.”
Policeman: “These are the instructions I got from the Shin Bet and the decision is theirs.”
Eventually the policeman filed a detention report, writing: “Suspected of hostile terror activity by Shin Bet.” Cohen, who was home for a vacation from his studies in political economy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, left the airport for his parents’ house.
He was not the only anarchist the Jewish department dealt with that week. Five days earlier, Kobi Snitz was attending a conference when he received a call from an unidentified number. The caller told him, “Shalom, this is Rona from the Shin Bet. I’m sure you’ve heard about me.”
“She said she wanted to invite me for a friendly conversation and for us to exchange thoughts,” said Snitz, 39, an anarchist activist and a mathematician. He asked whether he was being called in for an interrogation and when she said no, he said, no thanks. In 2009, Snitz served a 20-day sentence over an attempt a few years earlier to prevent the demolition of a house in Kharbatha, a village west of Ramallah. Two months ago, he was given another five-day sentence over a protest against the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
“The Jewish department believes that every Arab is dangerous and that they can take us, the naive activists, for a ride,” says Snitz. “They call us in in order to create a psychological profile, to know which of us they can exploit, and who can be exploited by others. They are not looking for information.”
Assaf Kintzer received a call on December 9: “Shalom, this is Rona from the Shin Bet. How are you?” After he said “okay,” she said she wanted to see him and asked him to come to the Dizengoff Street police station in Tel Aviv. It’s urgent, she added. Kintzer, 33, said he could not come immediately. She said: “I’ll call you again soon, and it’s worth your while to come.” She then continued, as Kintzer recalled, “Listen, if you aren’t coming now, I’ll tell you a bit by phone. I want you to know that we know what you are doing and that it will have repercussions. At the moment, what you are doing is on the borderline of the law and it is quite possible that information on you will show your actions are illegal. We know about all your files.”
That same day, Kintzer was called to the police station to be interrogated after being detained at two demonstrations against the separation fence at Ma’asara.
Then Rona added: “In addition to your activity in the West Bank, we know that you are involved in [a plan to demonstrate against] the business conference. If you do anything violent, there will be consequences. Why aren’t you talking?”
I have no reason to answer, he said. So Rona, he recalls, said in parting: “You should know that I’m not against you at all. I am on your side and take part in demonstrations.”
One person who did go to meet Rona two weeks ago, mainly out of curiosity, was N., 30, another member of Anarchists against the Wall.
The entire meeting, including the security check with a magnometer and the screening of his bag, took less than 20 minutes. Rona could not get N. to respond to her questions, but N. said she had the following message: “We know what you are doing. At the moment you are not violating the law and we don’t have any problem with you. The moment you violate the law, we’ll be there.”
Haaretz asked the Shin Bet whether it was warning activists about violating laws that the Knesset may pass in the future, thus making their actions illegal. The newspaper also asked who was considered “suspected,” and whether members of the service could participate in demonstrations against the government.
The Shin Bet responded, “The security service acts in keeping with the authority granted it by law to fulfill its objective of protecting state security, institutions and public order in a democratic regime from threats of terror, damage, subversion, spying and revealing state secrets, as stipulated in paragraph 7 (a ) of the Shin Bet security service law from 2002. As for the extent to which Shin Bet employees may take part in demonstrations, they are subject to the restrictions imposed on all civil servants.”
Santa Claus brings rubber bullets, tear gas, and arrests
Even before the demonstration began, at about 9:00am, several Israeli jeeps entered the village. A 16 year old Palestinian encountering them alone got shot by 12 rubber coated steel bullets, aimed from close range directly at his chest area. He was brought to the hospital in Ramallah, but did not suffer severe injuries.
The demonstration started after the prayer. The demonstrators, the people of An Nabi Saleh and a group of Israeli and International activists, were joined by Santa Clause as they walked down the main road of the village to the junction, chanting slogans. At the junction they were met by the Israeli military and Border Police, who tried to forcefully put an end to the demonstration by hitting demonstrators and using sound bombs.
The demonstrators retreated back into the village, while the shebab engaged in a confrontation with the army that carried on throughout the whole day. The military used sound bombs, excessive amounts of tear gas, and shot rubber bullets: many of them aimed directly at people.
Two people–-a 60 year old villager and his 50 year old wife–-were hit in the head by rubber bullets shot through the window, while inside their house. They were brought to the hospital. Several more demonstrators suffered from the effects of inhaling massive amounts of tear gas. One elderly man had to be treated by an ambulance after tear gas canisters entered his house.
The 20 year old Palestinian, Allae Tamimi, was transferred to Ofer Military Prison, where he is going to be investigated. He was released from Prison only a short while ago with the condition that he won’t participate in any demonstrations, for which he would face a sentence of 6 months in prison. This arrest comes three days after the arrest of Bahaa Tamimi, another member of the community of An Nabi Saleh.
When the day came to a close, Santa Claus had brought only more tear gas and rubber bullets for the villagers of An Nabi Saleh. Merry Christmas!
LESSONS MY FATHER DIDN’T TEACH ME
Silence not an option in face of growing hatred, racism on Israel’s streets