As children in the United States and Canada look to the sky to watch fireworks heralding in their National Days, these Palestinian children look up at Israeli warplanes.
An Israel soldier was captured by extremists in the Gaza Strip earlier this week…Israel blamed Hamas. Yes, Hamas is guilty… guilty of not being allowed to form a government that can govern. Guilty of not being recognised by Israel, the United States and the European Union. How does Israel punish the guilty party?.. By arresting 64 members of Hamas in the occupied territories, including a third of the Palestinian cabinet and 23 legislators.This is supposed to reflect a change in Israel’s policy towards the Hamas government… from non-recognition to destruction.

Israel will do everything in its power to destroy Hamas’ ability to govern, and then will blame them for not dealing with the situation.

Hamas is presently between a rock and a hard place, totally helpless and unable to prove their willingness to help get the release of the soldier in question. The world must not sit idely by and allow Israel to continue destroying the government, the land and the people of Palestine.

As the title states, June goes out like a lion…. let us see July come in like a lamb.

This linked article is from Counterpunch.. it is worth the read…

This one is from today’s on-line New York Times edition… text is below…

Seizures Show New Israel Line Against Hamas
Published: June 30, 2006
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Friday, June 30 .. Israeli troops seized 64 members of Hamas in the West Bank on Thursday, including a third of the Palestinian cabinet and 23 legislators, a move that Israeli officials said indicated a significant change in Israel’s policy toward the Hamas government.

The seizures are partly intended to warn Hamas leaders that they could lose their power and liberty, if not their lives, unless they act to release a captured Israeli soldier, a senior Israeli military official said. But Israel has also concluded that Hamas, which had largely kept to a cease-fire before, is now openly engaged in violent acts against Israel and must be treated differently.

It was unclear what would happen to those held if the Israeli soldier were released, but the officials described the seizures as part of a plan well beyond seeking that.

In and near Gaza, Israeli forces held their positions on Thursday night, appearing to pause in an expected ground assault but continued to pound northern Gaza with artillery fire. Early Friday, the Palestinian Interior Ministry was set on fire by an Israeli airstrike.

In explaining the shift toward Hamas, Israeli officials said Thursday that they had agreed to let Palestinian parliamentary elections go ahead five months ago, despite the participation of Hamas, under American pressure.

Hamas won the elections and formed a government that Israel and its allies have worked to weaken, especially through economic pressure, in an effort to get it to recognize Israel and forswear violence.

“So long as they were smart enough not to openly exercise terror, no one touched them,” said the senior Israeli military officer. “But now they’ve gone back to it, so we have the right to deal differently with this terrorist government and try to remove them.”

The Israeli defense minister, Amir Peretz, said Thursday: “The masquerade ball is over. The suits and ties will not serve as cover to the involvement and support of kidnappings and terror.”

The Israelis cited Hamas’s firing of Qassam rockets beginning this month, its public declaration that the cease-fire with Israel was over and its open involvement in the raid into Israeli territory early Sunday that resulted in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a wounded corporal, Gilad Shalit, 19.

The seizures of the Hamas political leaders, under criminal law, for alleged membership in a terrorist organization and involvement in terrorist acts, were approved this week by the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, “because he agreed that the public interest has changed, and there are moments a state can say, ‘We have a public interest in activating the criminal law,’ ” said Jacob Galanti, the Justice Ministry spokesman, in an interview.

“When you see Qassams flying every day and the event on the Gaza border,” Mr. Galanti said, the policy changes. “It’s true, we knew they were members of Hamas before they ran for office, and for the last six months we know they are in the Parliament. I’m not sure they had any immunity, but officials came to Mazuz and said that the public interest had changed, so they wanted a legal tool to take care of the problem.”

All those seized will be able to have lawyers and will appear in court as in other criminal trials, Mr. Galanti said, like the one successfully prosecuted against the Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted in 2004 of conspiracy to murder.

Jihad al-Wazir, who was the finance minister in the old Fatah government and deputy governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, was one of those rousted out of bed early Thursday by Israeli soldiers in combat gear who hammered with their feet on his door.

“I tried to calm them down, and said, ‘Come in, come in,’ ” said Mr. Wazir, who lives in the elegant Gemzo Suites apartment building in Ramallah, just across from the headquarters of the Fatah faction.

Numerous Hamas ministers and legislators of the Palestinian Authority live there too, and they, like Mr. Wazir, were ordered to dress and come outside. Unlike Mr. Wazir, many of them were taken away, their hands cuffed.

Mr. Wazir said he knew why. “They’re raising the ante,” he said. “It’s not about releasing the soldier, it’s more sinister than that. It seems to me they’re going for the long haul.” But the result, he said, would actually “reinforce the radicals.”

Ali Jarbawi, a professor and dean at Birzeit University here, said he thought the real goal was to remove the Hamas government from power.

Israel wants to continue with its unilateral policies based on the idea that there is no “Palestinian partner,” said Mr. Jarbawi, who turned down an offer from Hamas to join the government as an independent. “If you build up your strategy on having no partner, then you have to ensure you don’t have one. So when Palestinians tell you that there is about to be a political agreement among the factions, putting their house in order at last, you intervene.”

Analysts say the crisis is also further weakening the position of the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen. Mr. Abbas, they say, is being pulled, and is pulling Fatah, closer to Hamas in the face of the Israeli threat, when he originally wanted to pull Hamas closer to Fatah.

“Abu Mazen is being squeezed by everyone, he’s being smashed,” Mr. Jarbawi said.

Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and an expert on Palestinian politics, sees Mr. Abbas pushed toward Hamas for two reasons. He cites the cold shoulder Mr. Abbas got from the new Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, which pushed Mr. Abbas “to try to empower himself domestically and build up a coalition against Olmert’s unilateral plans,” and the Israeli operation, which compels a united Palestinian front.

“The arrest of the Hamas politicians — Abbas and everyone understands that as a step against the government,” Mr. Klein said. “It’s part of a grand strategy, to undermine the Hamas government, that the Israeli cabinet decided upon in its first meeting after Hamas took power.”

Jonathan Fighel, a former colonel now at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, said the seized Hamas members were really a bargaining chip for the release of the soldier. Israel, he said, “has to collect cards for future negotiations.”

Mr. Jarbawi said with disgust: “Why do we need a Palestinian Authority at all? Just to disguise the occupation? If I were Abu Mazen, I’d say I’m a president without authority and dismantle it, and tell Israel: ‘You’re responsible. You pay.’ And then you should worry about a binational state.”


I’ve decided to take a day off from blogging today… I need a break from the reality of the ugliness in the region…so I present instead a thread written by my son on his Blog. It is definitely worth reading. Comments may be left here, or on his thread itself.


Yesterday, hopes were raised that peace was on the way…. today those hopes were crushed as Israeli tanks made their way to the south of Gaza. Israel has been waiting for an excuse to pull off a full scale invasion of the Strip for months now. The capture of an Israeli soldier gave them the excuse they were waiting for.
As was the case of the Arafat ‘regime’, the Hamas ‘Government’ has been deemed helpless in the situation facing us today. Efforts by the United States and most European countries have made it impossible for Hamas to form a government and take charge of affairs in the Palestinian areas. In it’s place we see various ‘factions’ of political movements taking charge of matters there, with Hamas helpless in controlling the situation. We see kidnappings that are not sanctioned by what should be the ruling government, but we see the blame pointed at them regardless.
Israel, by its own actions of non recognition and sabotage, is fully responsible for the situation in the Palestinian areas.
The ball was passed yesterday, Israel has chosen not to score a goal…. but as always, they will find a way to ‘blame the victim’ and come out looking like victors.

The following linked articles are from various sources which give a pretty good picture of what is going on so-far…

From the

From HaAretz…



and from BBC…

The world is watching…. the world is hoping…. Israel is crushing those hopes.


The Palestinian Authority just passed the ball to Israel’s court. The Palestinian leadership is prepared to recognise the State of Israel… Now, the question remains… Is Israel prepared to recognise a State of Palestine.
This comes at a time when both nations are virtually at war with each other, I do not recall any such precident in recent history.
Following are short comments from various linked articles…. Let us hope that soon we will see headlines proclaiming PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

From HaAretz….
Hamas, Fatah reach deal on plan that implicitly recognizes Israel

By News Agencies

Hamas and Fatah on Tuesday completed an agreement over a plan that implicitly recognizes Israel, ending weeks of acrimonious negotiations, a top official said.

“We have an agreement over the document,” said Ibrahim Abu Najah, coordination of the “national dialogue” over the proposal.

Palestinain Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has been trying to coax his Hamas rivals into endorsing the document, which calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, based on the 1967 borders.

All the obstacles were removed and an agreement was reached on all the points of the prisoners’ document,” Rawhi Fattouh, a senior aide to Abbas, said after factions meeting in Gaza initialed the accord.

Fattouh said Haniyeh and Abbas would formally announce the deal later in the day. A Hamas spokesman confirmed an agreement was reached.

From AlJazeera….

Palestinians implicitly recognise Israel

Tuesday 27 June 2006, 17:22 Makka Time, 14:22 GMT

Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniya have reached agreement on a manifesto at the heart of a power struggle between their rival groups.

The political document, by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, implicitly recognises Israel.

From The Guardian….
Hamas makes deal with Fatah

David Fickling and agencies
Tuesday June 27, 2006

Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on a groundbreaking plan implicitly recognising Israel and potentially ending months of political deadlock in the Palestinian authority.
The joint political platform, drawn up by militant prisoners in Israeli jails, calls for a Palestinian state ruled by a coalition government alongside an Israel confined within its pre-1967 borders.

Unlike football, the ‘trophy’ in this ‘game’ is for keeps…and both sides win. Peace is the greatest prize humanity can hope for….Let’s hope it happens.


Jonathan Cook has, in recent days, become my favourite journalist. He speaks the truth… whether you want to hear it or not. Thanks to CounterPunch for publishing his views.
I have posted his last few articles on the latest crisis in Israel/Palestine with the hope that they will get the widest distribution possible. His latest appears below.

Another Escalation from the Palestinians
Israeli “Retaliation” and Double Standards


The killing by Palestinian militants of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a third from an army post close to the Gaza Strip set the scene for Israeli “reprisals” and “retaliation”, according to the reports of BBC correspondents in Israel and Gaza yesterday.

The attack by the Palestinians, who sneaked through tunnels under the electronic fence surrounding Gaza, marked a “major escalation in cross-border tension” (Alan Johnston) that threatened to overturn “a week of progress on two fronts” (John Lyon): namely, the recent talks between Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan, and between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas.

Thus, according to the BBC’s analysis, this attack ends the immediate chances for “peace” negotiations and provides the context for the next round of the conflict between the Israeli army and the Palestinians of Gaza. We are left to infer that all the suffering the army inflicts in the coming days and weeks should be attributed to this moment of “escalation” by the Palestinians.

We can ignore the weeks of shelling by the Israeli army of Gaza, the firing of hundreds of missiles into the crowded Strip that have destroyed Palestinian lives and property, while spreading terror among the civilian population and deepening the psychological trauma suffered by a generation of children.

We can ignore the deaths of more than 30 civilians, and dozens of horrific injuries, in the past few weeks at the hands of the Israeli military, including three children hit in a botched air strike last week, and a heavily pregnant woman and her doctor brother killed a day later as a missile slammed into the room where they were eating dinner.

We can ignore the blockade of Gaza’s “borders” by the Israeli army for months on end, which has prevented Palestinians in the Strip from trading goods at crossing points with Israel and from receiving vital supplies of food and medicines. As a captive population besieged by Israeli soldiers, Gazans are facing a humanitarian catastrophe sanctioned by Israeli government policy and implemented by the Israeli army.

We can ignore Israel’s bullying of the international community to connive in the starving of the Hamas-led government of funds and diplomatic room for manoeuvre, thereby preventing the elected Palestinian leadership from running Gaza. So desperate is the situation there that Hamas officials are being forced to smuggle in millions of dollars of cash stuffed in suitcases to pay salaries.

And finally we can ignore the violation of Palestinian territory by Israeli commandos who infiltrated Gaza a day before the Palestinian attack to kidnap two Palestinians Israel claims are terrorists. They have been “disappeared”, doubtless to be be held in administrative detention, where they can denied access to lawyers, the courts and, of course, justice.

None of this provides the context for the Palestinian attack on the army post — any more than, in the BBC’s worldview, do the previous four decades of occupation. None is apparently relevant to understanding the Palestinian attack, or for judging the legitimacy of Israel’s imminent military “reprisals”.

In short, according to the BBC, we can ignore Israel’s long-standing policy of unilateralism — a refusal to negotiate meaningfully with the Palestinians, either the old guard of Fatah or the new one of Hamas — with its resort to a strategy of collective punishment of Gaza’s population to make it submit to the continuing occupation.

In the skewed moral and news priorities of the BBC, the killing of two Israeli soldiers by Palestinian militants — the “escalation” — provides a justification for “fierce retaliation” against Gaza, with the inevitable toll on Palestinian civilians and militants alike. The earlier killing of tens of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military, however, is not presented as justification for yesterday’s Palestinian retaliation against the army.

In other words, on the scale of moral outrage the BBC ranks the deaths of Israeli soldiers enforcing an illegal occupation far above those of Palestinian civilians enduring the illegal occupation.

There is another notable asymmetry in the BBC’s assessment of the “escalation”. Participation by the military wing of Hamas in the attack is evidence, suggest the reporters, of the role of the Palestinian leadership in “escalating tension”. But the killing by the Israeli army of a Palestinian family of seven on a Gaza beach on June 9, and many more civilians since, was apparently not an “escalation”, even though it provoked Hamas to renounce a ceasefire it had maintained for 16 months in the face of continuous Israeli military assaults.

So how is the ordinary viewer to make sense of these events — the endless “cycle of violence” — with the BBC as guide. (And the BBC is no worse, and possibly better, than most of other Western broadcasters. At least its reporter Alan Johnston is based in Gaza.)

Not only do its reporters exhibit the biases associated with its institutional racism — as an organisation, the BBC chooses to identify with Israeli concerns before Palestinian ones — but they then compound this distortion by repeating uncritically Israel’s own misrepresentation of events.

The reporters, like so many of their colleagues, fall into the trap of presenting the conflict through the eyes of the Israeli government, the same government whose prime minister, Ehud Olmert, last week proudly displayed his ethnic chauvinism by setting the suffering of the Jewish residents of Sderot, who face a mostly non-lethal smattering of Palestinian home-made Qassam rockets, far above the rising death toll of Gaza’s civilians from the army’s constant aerial and artillery bombardment. “I am sorry with all my heart for the residents of Gaza,” Olmert said, “but the lives and well-being of Sderot’s residents are more important than those of Gaza residents.” In other words, a potential threat to a single Jew is more important than the deaths of dozens of Palestinian innocents.

Thus we learn without comment from the BBC that Olmert has denounced the killing of the two soldiers as “terrorism”, even though the word cannot describe an attack by an occupied people on an occupying army. How is it possible for a few men with light arms to terrorise one of the most powerful armies in the world? What next: are we to listen sympathetically to claims by the US that its soldiers are being “terrorised” by Iraqi insurgents?

The defence that the BBC is simply reporting Israel’s position does not stand up to scrutiny. Is it even conceivable that we might hear a BBC reporter neutrally repeat a Hamas statement that the Israeli army is terrorising Palestinians by reckless shelling civilians in Gaza, even though the word’s usage in this case would better satisfy the dictionary definition? The shells most certainly do spread terror among Gaza’s civilian population.

We hear too without comment that Olmert is holding both Hamas and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the attack. The BBC dutily repeats Israeli claims that Abbas has the resources to fight “terror” even as the money to pay Palestinian security forces is held by foreign banks unwilling, at Israeli and American behest, to hand it over, and as Hamas and Abbas are locked in battle for control of the Palestinians’ shrinking government.

Does common sense not recoil from the suggestion that both Hamas and Abbas can be equally blamed for the attack when the two are bitter rivals for power? Or that either can be held accountable when Israel has refused to negotiate with them or treat them as the genuine representatives of the Palestinian people?

Again, would the BBC report with due solemnity claims by the Palestinians that they hold Olmert and Peretz personally guilty for the civilian deaths in Gaza over the past fortnight, even though in an enlightened world both should be standing trial for war crimes?

Instead, however implausible the Israeli version of reality, the BBC happily sows confusion on behalf of the Israeli army. Like other broadcasters, it credulously reports preposterous arguments seeking to exonerate the Israeli army of responsibility for the shelling of the beach in Gaza that killed a Palestinian family of seven. It treats as equally credible the army’s belated version in which Palestinian militants are said to have laid a single mine at a favourite seaside picnic spot in the futile hope of preventing the Israeli navy landing along the Strip’s miles of coastline. (In consequence, the BBC excludes the seven dead and dozens of Palestinian injured in that Israeli attack from its list of recent civilian casualties in Gaza).

And both BBC reporters note gravely Israel’s concerns that this is the first time Palestinian militants have broken out of the fenced-off Strip since Israel withdrew from Gaza nearly a year ago. Somehow the fact that the Palestinians have briefly escaped from their cage appears to make the attack all the more shocking not only for Israel but for the two reporters.

This attack in Israel, they tell us, is the most serious to date, with the implication that it is therefore illegitimate and part of the same “escalation”. Even ignoring the fact that this attack was against Israeli soldiers besieging, imprisoning and shelling the Palestinians of Gaza, does the BBC not to pause to consider the double standard it is applying?

Was the Israeli army’s incursion into Gaza a day earlier to capture two alleged Palestinian militants not an equal escalation? Was it not an equal violation of Palestinian sovereignty? Of course not. The BBC knows, as do the rest of us, that the army never really left Gaza and the occupation never really ended. But you won’t hear that from any of its reporters.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the author of the forthcoming “Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State” published by Pluto Press, and available in the United States from the University of Michigan Press. His website is here.


There is something wrong with my email. I am not receiving what is being sent… it is being looked at now by my provider. I did not receive any notifications to moderate comments, so no new comments are appearing at the moment. I am NOT ignoring anyone or rejecting anyone. Please be patient. Thanks.


My mail seems to be coming through at the moment…. but anything sent last night or this morning seems to be lost in cyberspace…
SO… if anyone commented on previous articles and you do not see them posted, please resend.


This Israeli tank is the first thing many Palestinian children see when they leave their homes. Many of these children are orphaned, many have witnessed the burials of their parents, brothers, sisters, friends… this is unnatural for children. They should be experiencing life…not death.

Most people in the West have no idea what the term ‘occupation’ means, have no idea of the suffering that results from it. One way to combat the evils of it is to make the situation known to as many people as possible, that is my intent.

The following article appears on the ElecronicInifada. It is a well researched piece and should be read and spread. It is written by a Jew living in Israel.

The Ideology of Occupation Revisited
Ran HaCohen, The Electronic Intifada, 26 June 2006

The history of occupation is not just that of Palestinian suffering and Israeli aggression; it is also the history of its ideology, the history of the fictions the Israeli society fabricates in order to justify its major colonial project which has just entered its 40th year. These fictions do have a history: one can trace their career from birth to maturity, their shifts from the margin to the center and vice versa, their rise and fall among definite segments of the Israeli society or media, sometimes their (reversible) death.

A few years ago, I dedicated two columns to the ideology of occupation, following a nice synopsis of it given by an Israeli settler. Most of those arguments are still on the market today. You can still hear Israelis explain away the occupation by resorting to the Palestinian rejection of the partition plan, 60 years ago. Also the notion that “they want to throw us all into the sea” can boast a continuous career from the Passover Hagadah (“in every generation they rise against us to destroy us”) up to the current political use of the Hamas Charter. But some things have changed. If you nowadays ask an Israeli about the occupation, what answers will you get?

The orthodox and hard-line right wingers (Likud and rightward) would probably come up with more traditional arguments (“it’s all our land,” etc.); but if you come across a mainstreamer – one of those who consider themselves “moderate right-wingers,” “centrists,” or “leftists” (the terms are near-synonyms in present Israeli discourse), voters of Kadima, Labor, or Meretz – I think this is what you are going to hear.

“The Occupation Has Ended”

Almost all the Israelis really believe the occupation of Gaza is over. The Palestinians there are now free to run their lives as they like, and Israel has nothing to do with it. They envisage a similar scenario being realized, or perhaps realized already, for the West Bank behind the Wall.

This fiction has become popular since the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last summer; but its roots go back to the Oslo years, when especially the Zionist Left (Yossi Sarid, et al.) cultivated the myth that a Palestinian state in fact already existed, or was about to emerge within a fortnight (not later than 1998, as the Oslo Accords indeed stated; remember also Bush’s broken deadline). In fact, this fiction represents a deep Israeli desire to deny: since the liberal Israeli knows the occupation cannot go together with democracy and justice, the occupation should disappear – but in a virtual way, by being denied. On a deeper level, many Israeli liberals believe Arabs cannot go together with culture and modernity, so denying their existence, both virtually and actually, by locking the undesired neighbors behind a big Wall and forgetting all about them, sounds like a pretty good solution.

“We’re Here, They’re There,” Said the Jailer

“We’re here, they’re there” was Ehud Barak’s sophisticated “peace slogan.” The actual power relations between “here” and “there” have to be denied; in fact, the only thing that reminds the Israelis of these power relations is the Palestinian violent resistance. Were it not for “terrorism” (a term used indiscriminately for both legitimate and illegitimate Palestinian violence), the Israelis would have happily forgotten all about their locked-up neighbors by now. Accordingly, the persistent homemade Qassam missiles that terrorize the Israeli town of Sderot are conceptualized by Israelis as typical Arab ingratitude, as shameless ungratefulness for the great gift that Israel has presented the Palestinians by withdrawing from Gaza, allegedly restoring their freedom, honor, and well-being.

The reality is different. Having pulled its settlers out of Gaza, Israel is now imposing a total siege on the tiny Strip: the 1.5 million Palestinians locked up there have no access to the sea (Israel never let the Gaza seaport be built), no access to the air (Israel destroyed the Gaza airport), and all the crossings are under Israeli control (i.e., practically closed most of the time). Since the Hamas victory in the elections, Israel and the international community have also been imposing an economic siege on the Strip, severing the financial ties with the Palestinian authority; to pay their Authority’s employees, the Palestinians have to smuggle cash through the crossings. Israel’s “security system” – the Occupation incarnated – is the one who decides whether Gazans will have flour, medicines, and any other goods, how much, and when.

While this economic and physical siege is being imposed by air, sea, and land, and while Gaza is daily bombarded by missiles, artillery, and naval fire, “center-left” Israelis can say things like “Israel has left Gaza. The Palestinians could use this fact to finally rebuild Gaza, to build houses for refugees, to encourage investments, and to create jobs. Gazans could finally live like humans” (quoted from a letter to the excellent Hebrew Web site Ha’okets).

The situation in the West Bank is not so very different. The Palestinians there are locked in smaller cages than in Gaza, but the siege is less hermetic. While the Palestinians are locked behind huge walls, with a satanic system of roadblocks and permits, and sliced by roads-for-Jews-only and by settlements, harassed day and night by army incursions into their villages, houses, and bedrooms, many Israelis believe the occupation is now retreating, and its end is just a matter of time, or rather of semantics.

Alas, colonialism does not disappear by being denied; in fact, the Israeli occupation is at its peak, worse than ever before. There is no better evidence for that than the discussion about whether or not there is a humanitarian crisis in Palestine, once a rich Land of Milk and Honey.

A Propos

Ha’aretz reported Tuesday that the Knesset would debate a new bill, harshly criticized by leading jurists, that would make it possible to extend a suspect’s remand without him being present in court, and to prevent him from seeing a lawyer for 30 consecutive days. The bill was submitted by the Justice Ministry and is supported by the Shin Bet security service.

If you wonder why such a bill is suddenly needed, or who these “suspects” might be, you’ll first have to learn Hebrew; Ha’aretz’s version in this language explains: “Till the ending of the military regime in the Gaza Strip, the investigation authorities had wider powers than those granted by the Detention Law. Now that the military regime in Gaza has ended, a special law is needed to give the security services wider enforcement powers.” A few days after this debate, as if to make a point, the Israeli army entered the Gaza Strip and, for the first time since the withdrawal, abducted – “arrested” – two Palestinians.The occupation is over, long live the occupation.

Dr. Ran HaCohen was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and grew up in Israel. He has a B.A. in Computer Science, an M.A. in Comparative Literature, and his PhD is in Jewish Studies. He is a university teacher in Israel. He also works as a literary translator (from German, English and Dutch), and as a literary critic for the Israeli daily Yedioth Achronoth. Mr. HaCohen’s work has been published widely in Israel. “Letter from Israel” appears occasionally at Antiwar.com. This article, which first appeared on Antiwar.com,is published with the author’s permission.

The Politics of Occupation must be replaced by the Politics of Justice. The Palestinian People must be given the RIGHT to build their own country, develop their culture, educate their children; the very freedoms that every free nation enjoys.

The sound of music should emit from their villages instead of the sounds of cannons and guns. As was said during the American Revolution, “LET FREEDOM RING”



Let me start by saying the following ( this thread is not meant to infuriate my zionist readers)…
I do not want to see harm brought to the Israeli soldier that has been captured. I want to see him returned to his family, alive and well.

I find the headline on the CNN link very strange… “Israel demands release of abducted soldier”… Demands of whom???? Have they suddenly recognised the Hamas regime now that they want something from them? Here is an article from CNN and another from AlJazeera dealing with the situation.

These quotes from CNN…
“This situation is today more grave than it’s been for quite a while. This is a crisis,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev, referring to ongoing tensions and strife between Israel and Palestinians.”
Correct me if I’m wrong… Israeli forces have been on a killing spree in Gaza for over two weeks now but “This is a crisis”?

“”We hope that this soldier will be released immediately, that’s our demand” and “if that doesn’t happen we will act to release him,” said Regev, who made the remarks after Palestinians indicated that there are diplomatic efforts afoot on the matter.”
I too hope the soldier will be released immediately, but will that stop the killings of innocent civilians? Where are the diplomatic efforts afoot to stop Israel from continuing these murders?

“If the soldier is promptly freed, Regev said, “we will see this crisis de-escalate. But once again, we have to see immediate action here.””
That sounds hopeful… but which crisis is refered to, the killings of innocent civilians or the capture of an Israeli soldier? Is there only one crisis in the region presently?

Bottom line is… this madness has to end NOW. Israel must recognise Hamas as the Government of Palestine NOW. Israel must allow the Palestinian people to declare statehood NOW. Only then will the crisis end… not until…


The killing continues, the lies continue, the threats continue.
Every day now Palestinian children are left to be orphans, or worse… killed themselves. This, due to missle strikes by the Israeli Defense Forces. To date, Washington has been silent on these attacks, despite appeals from President Abbas to Ms. Rice.

The ElectronicIntifada had the following report on their site..

Opposition leader and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told the 35th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces has the operational capability to wipe out the Gaza Strip, but chose not to do so. The full report can be seen here in an article from HaAretz.

Anyone, anywhere, that considers themselves to be a person of peace or justice has but one choice… BOYCOTT ISRAEL!
Maybe then they will listen.


I just watched the movie Ray. It was based on the life of Ray Charles. For most of my adult life whenever entertainment was provided, Ray Charles was a part of that. He was someone my generation took for granted, always there and always great.

I knew very little about him personally until tonight. I was totally unaware of the fact that he was the first Black performer to refuse to appear in front of segregated audiences, a move that almost cost him his career.

I was totally unaware of the psychological battle that raged within him as a result of witnessing his younger brother drown when he was only 5 years old. This trauma resulted in him becomming a heavy drug user, which was another factor that almost cost him his career, his family and his life.

He battled all odds throughout his life, blindness, trauma, drug abuse, yet became the number one performer in America.

Anyone that hasn’t seen the movie must…. his story must be known, and the ugliness that was America must be known.

It was people like Ray Charles that made things better than they were…. there is still a long way to go, but the path has been started.
Thank you Ray!


Two days after the concert for Peace here in Israel, it is still making the press throughout the West.
CNN just posted this video on their site… it’s worth the few minutes it takes to watch it.


Israel continues to lie, Palestinians continue to die. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, expressed “deep regret” for army operations that have killed 14 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in just nine days but said the lives of Israeli citizens threatened by Qassam attacks were “even more important”. A full report of that can be found here.
With attitudes like that, it’s no wonder that the killing spree continues.
Thanks to Jews sans Frontieres for inspiring this thread.

CounterPunch is again on top of the situation with the following article.

When Killings Don’t Count
A Week of Israeli Restraint


In Israeli discourse, Israel is always the side exercising restraint in its conflict with the Palestinians. This was true again for the events of the past week: As the Qassam rockets were falling on the Southern Israeli town of Sderot, it was “leaked” that the Israeli Minister of Defense had directed the army to show restraint.1

During the week of Israeli restraint, the army killed a Palestinian family who went on a picnic on the Beit Lahya beach in the Gaza Strip; after that, the army killed nine people in order to liquidate a Katyusha rocket.

But in the discourse of restraint, the first killing does not count, because the army denied its involvement, and the second was deemed a necessary act of self-defense. After all, Israel is caught in the midst of Qassam attacks, and must defend its citizens. In this narrative, the fact that Israel is content merely to bombard the Gaza Strip from air, sea and land is a model of restraint and humanity that not many states could match.

But what is driving the Qassam attacks on Israel? For 17 months, since it declared a cease fire, Hamas has not been involved in firing Qassams. The other organizations have generally succeeded in launching only a few isolated Qassams.

How did this evolve into an attack of something like 70 Qassams in three days?

The Israeli army has a long tradition of “inviting” salvoes of Qassams. In April of last year, Sharon took off to a meeting with Bush in which his central message was that Abbas is not to be trusted, has no control of the ground, and cannot be a partner for negotiations. The army took care to provide an appropriate backdrop for the meeting. On the eve of Sharon’s departure, on 9 April 2005, the Israeli a rmy killed three youths on the Rafah border, who according to Palestinian sources were playing soccer there.

This arbitrary killing inflamed a wave of anger in the Gaza Strip, which had been relatively quiet until then. Hamas responded to the anger on the street, and permitted its people to participate in the firing of Qassams. On the following two days, about 80 Qassams were fired, until Hamas restored calm. Thus, during the Sharon-Bush meeting, the world received a perfect illustration of the untrustworthiness of Abbas.2

At the beginning of last week (11 June), Olmert set out on a campaign of persuasion in Europe to convince European leaders that now, with Hamas in power, Israel definitely has no partner. The USA does not appear to need any convincing at the moment, but in Europe there is more reservation about unilateral measures. The Israeli army began to prepare the backdrop on the night of the previous Thursday (8 June 2006), when it “liquidated” Jamal Abu Samhadana, who had recently been appointed head of the security forces of the Interior Ministry by the Hamas government. It was entirely predictable that the action may lead to Qassam attacks on Sderot. Nevertheless, the army proceeded the following day to shell the Gaza coast (killing the Ghalya family and wounding tens of people), and succeeded in igniting the required conflagration, until Hamas again ordered its people, on 14 June, to cease firing.

This time, the show orchestrated by the army got a bit messed up. Pictures of the child Huda Ghalya succeeded in breaching the wall of Western indifference to Palestinian suffering. Even if Israel still has enough power to force Kofi Annan to apologize for casting doubt on Israel’s denial, the message that Hamas is the aggressive side in the conflict did not go unchallenged in the world this time. But the army has not given up. It appears determined to continue to provoke attacks that would justify bringing down the Hamas government by force, with Sderot paying the price.

Even though it is impossible to compare the sufferings of the residents of Sderot with the sufferings of the residents of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya in the North of the Gaza Strip, on which 5,000 shells fell in the past month alone3, my heart also goes out to the residents of Sderot. It is their destiny to live in fear and agony, because in the eyes of the army their suffering is necessary so that the world may understand that Israel is the restrained side in a war for its very existence.

This op-ed went to press an hour before the Israeli air force killed three more children in a crowded street in North Gaza, on Tuesday, June 20.

Tanya Reinhart is a Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University and the author of Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 and The Roadmap to Nowhere. She can be reached through her website.


1. On Monday, June 12, the headlines announced that the Defence Minister Peretz blocked an initiative of the army to launch a massive land offensive in Gaza (e.g. Amos Har’el and Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz, June 12, 2006). In the inside pages of the weekend papers, it turned out that this was a “media spin” produced by Peretz bureau “based on a security consultation held the previous night” (Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Lost innocents, Ha’aretz, June 16-17, 2006).

2. This sequence of events is documented in detail in my book The Road Map to Nowhere, to appear in July, 2006 (Verso).

3. Alex Fishman, Senior security analyst of Yediot Aharonot reports that at the beginning “the artillery shelling of the Gaza strip was debated”, but then, “what started ten months ago with dozens of shells a month that were fired at open areas today reached astronomical numbers of shells. The battery that fired the six shells on Friday [June 9] fire an average of more than a thousand shells a week towards the north of the Strip. This means that the battery which has been placed there for four weeks has already fired about 5000 shells” (Yediot Aharonot Sa! turday Supplement, June 16, 2006).


Americans can be proud. Their President, George Dubya Bush has broken a new record.
He has 803 images on Google if you look for images of Idiot Bush.

Stephen Harper only got 29 hits, he has to try harder…

Tony Blair got a mere 27…most of which are of Bush… he really has to try harder.

Your search – idiot olmert – did not match any documents.

That notification indicates that Google is either ‘top heavy’ with Zionists, or they have joined the Boycott on Israel.

Courtesy of Latour


THIS appears on CNN’s page…note the word ‘despite’…

That took place last evening, but earlier in the day Olmert met with Abbas and this was reported…

Ehud Olmert, in his first meeting with Mahmoud Abbas as Israeli prime minister, yesterday told the Palestinian Authority president he regretted the deaths of Palestinian civilians in recent air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The two men met briefly in the margins of a conference in Petra, Jordan, hours after a pregnant woman and her brother were killed by a missile that struck their home, bringing the Palestinian civilian death toll to 13 in little over a week. Three Palestinian children died in an attack on Tuesday.

The Israeli air force commander, Major-General Eliezer Shakedi, defended air strikes as the most accurate means of targeting militants short of a full-scale ground offensive into Gaza. The military nevertheless said it was launching an investigation into the latest botched raid.

The military has reverted to air strikes against militants who fire home-made rockets into Israel after suspending daily artillery barrages in the wake of the killing of eight picnickers on a Gaza beach on June 9, ostensibly by an Israeli shell.

reported that there will be future talks between the two.

This is positive, but the fact that there was not a representative from Hamas is not. Hamas, whether Olmert and Abbas like it or not, was elected by the Palestinians to represent them. Just where is that representation?

NOTE TO MY READERS… linked articls often change at the source, HaAretz does this frequently. The story is usually related but is not what was linked originally.


Former Pink Floyd lead singer Roger Waters performing at Neveh Shalom near Latrun on Thursday.

As expected, the concert for peace was a ‘roaring’ success. Concertgoers on the way to hear Roger Waters caused massive traffic jams throughout Israel earlier this evening. Following is a full report from HaAretz.

Roger Waters concert creates large-scale traffic jam

By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent

The large flow of people making their way on Thursday to a concert given by Roger Waters, the leader of the musical group ‘Pink Floyd’, created large-scale congestion in the roads leading to Neveh Shalom, where the concert is taking place. Tens of thousands of drivers heading to the concert, along with thousands of drivers trying to get to other destinations in the area, were forced to wait hours in standstill traffic.

The most severe congestion occurred in Gush Dan (the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area), where heavy traffic is not uncommon, even without these extenuating circumstances.

The reason for the unusually heavy jamming of traffic is the fact that the roads around Neveh Shalom and the routes leading to the area are not equipped to handle the amount of traffic that came through them on Thursday. In recent weeks, the producers of the concert have been preparing the access roads and parking lots for the large amounts of cars that were expected, however, route 3, the road that leads to the site of the concert, is at one point only one lane wide, which delayed traffic considerably.

The Jerusalem Police and the national Traffic Police came out in unprecedented numbers to deal with the traffic situation. They predicted that 20,000 vehicles would make their way to the concert, carrying 54,000 drivers and passengers. 950 police officers and 600 security personnel took part in securing the event. 180 police officers and 200 ushers were designated to direct traffic in the area.

UPDATE from today’s HaAretz.


Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters spray-painting the words “No Thought Control” on a section of Israel’s separation barrier in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem on Wednesday. (AP)

There will be a rock concert in Israel tonight. The star will be the founder of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters. It will be held in a field adjacent to an Arab/Jewish village called Neve Shalom. Reports estimate that more than 50,000 fans will attend the concert.

Click HERE to read an interview about the background of the concert.

Following is a report from today’s HaAretz….

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters urges Israel to ‘tear down the wall’

By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters

Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who inspired the rock band’s iconic album “The Wall,” scrawled “tear down the wall” on the concrete panels of Israel’s West Bank barrier on Wednesday.

The barrier was the first stop on a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories for Waters, who had been criticized by some fans for planning to play a concert in Israel.

“It’s a horrific edifice, this thing,” Waters told reporters as he stood beside a section of the barrier in Bethlehem.

“I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve heard a lot about it but without being here you can’t imagine how extraordinarily oppressive it is and how sad it is to see these people coming through these little holes,” he added. “It’s craziness.”

Waters added to graffiti with red spray paint and a marker pen. Waters was lyricist, songwriter and singer for Pink Floyd, the former British rock group famous for “The Wall” and “The Dark Side of the Moon”.

Israel has built almost half the barrier, which has the stated aim of keeping suicide bombers out of its cities.

Condemned by Palestinians as a land grab, the barrier has been branded illegal by the World Court because it cuts through occupied territory. Israel is rerouting some sections after a Supreme Court order to lessen Palestinian hardship.

Waters is due to perform a concert at the Arab-Jewish coexistence village of Neve Shalom on Thursday as part of his world tour.

The concert was originally planned for a Tel Aviv sports stadium but, following criticism by fans in Britain, Waters changed the location to the peace village, where Israeli Jews and Arabs live in a joint community.

In 1990, Waters performed “The Wall” along the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany to celebrate reunification.

He told reporters he hoped Israel’s barrier would also be brought down one day. More than 90 percent of the barrier is razor-tipped fence, but towering concrete walls are used in built-up areas.

“It may be a lot harder to get this one down, but eventually it must happen,” Waters said.

Massive traffic jams expected for Waters show
The concert by the former Pink Floyd soloist is expected to cause massive traffic jams tonight on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway and Route 3 between the Latrun and Nahshon intersections. About 20,000 vehicles are expected to try to reach the concert venue near Neveh Shalom on a road that has between two and four lanes.

Jerusalem Police and national traffic police will deploy unprecedented forces to cope with the extraordinarily heavy traffic burden. A total of 950 police officers and 600 security guards and ushers are to maintain security at the concert, while 180 police officers and 200 parking attendants will direct traffic in the area.

“It is possible that at some point we will decide to direct vehicles against the normal traffic patterns in order to ease the burden,” one source said.

“We recommend that drivers remain patient and leave early to attend the concert. Drivers coming from the Tel Aviv area are advised to leave as early as 4 or 5 P.M. The official concert will begin at 8:45 P.M., but opening acts will begin as early as 6 P.M,” said Police Commander Tzion Shai, an officer in the special missions division of the Jerusalem police force.

Police predict that 45,000 people will attend the concert.

“We recommend that drivers who are not attending the concert make use of alternate routes, like Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway 443 or Route 44 from Kiryat Gat to the Beit Jubrin intersection, and proceed to Jerusalem from there,” Shai said.

The Jerusalem Police also recommends that concertgoers wear flat shoes in order to avoid slipping on the furrowed earth at the site.


It’s amazing what went on in the United States during the height of the McCarthy days. Aside from the blaclistings, deportations, harrassment of every kind, the new revelations of these ‘private’ F.B.I. activities never cease to amaze me.
They actually make the Bush administration look legit.

You think I’m stupid? Just look what went on in this country before me and my Daddy tried to change things…
C’mon guys, give me ‘this’ much credit….
I’m a genius compared to Joseph McCarthy.


‘SHULDIK’… that means GUILTY in Yiddish.
‘SHANDA’… that means SHAME in Yiddish.

Palestine made it to the top of the list… of WORLD REFUGEES.

A Palestinian refugee displays a key which symbolises his return

So, why the Yiddish words at the beginning of this? Simply because Israel is to blame for this and Israel must feel the shame.

A country that itself was allowed to exist because of the refugees that survived after the holocaust. A country that should be the first to never allow those horrible things to happen to any other nation. Instead, it has done everything in its power since its ‘independance’ to keep the Palestinians from attaining that very same status of Statehood.

Perhaps the growing boycott will change some minds and attitudes in the Israeli government…. something has to.
Support for the boycott is growing in Israel as well…


THIS just in from AlJazeera… read this before you continue.

CounterPunch, Jonathan Cook in particular, has been doing a marvelous job of reporting on the recent events in the Gaza Strip. At the end of the article I posted some very disturbing images, do not go to the bottom part of this thread if you wish not to see them.

The following was written by Cook and appears in today’s issue of CounterPoint. It is a must read, as was his piece that i posted a few days ago.

Israel Engineers Another Cover-Up
Leaving the Truth Buried in Gaza’s Sands

If you keep lying long enough and with enough conviction, people start to believe you — or at least doubt the evidence in front of their own eyes. And so it has been with the Israeli army’s account of how seven members of a Palestinian family were killed, and dozens of other Palestinians injured, during shelling close by a beach in Gaza.

This week, according to reports in the Israeli media, even Marc Garlasco, a Pentagon expert on the effects of battlefield weapons hired by Human Rights Watch to investigate the deaths, “conceded” that he could not contradict the findings of the Israeli army’s own inquiry.

Presumably that is because Israel is not letting him or anyone else near their evidence. But Garlasco’s slight change of tune — even if it is not exactly a ringing endorsement — leaves the door ajar just wide enough that the Israeli army will doubtless slip through it to escape being held accountable yet again.

The army has been claiming for more than a week, based on its own evidence, that the lethal explosion was not caused by a stray shell landing on the Gaza beach but most probably by a mine placed there by Palestinian militants to prevent an Israeli naval landing.

The army’s case could be dismissed outright were it not for the racist assumptions that now prevail as Western “thought” about Arabs and Muslims.

To be plausible the army account requires two preposterous assumptions: first, that Palestinian militants are so fanatical that they consider it acceptable to lay a mine secretly in an area frequented by local families; and second, that they are so primitive that their best military minds could not work out the futility of placing a single mine along miles of coastline that could be used for a landing (or are we to assume that there are many more of these mines waiting to explode?).

To support its case, the army has produced two pieces of evidence that apparently make its denials of responsibility “airtight”.

First, it claims that a piece of shrapnel removed by doctors from an injured Palestinian transferred to an Israeli hospital was not from one its shells but more likely from a Palestinian explosive device.

Given that, unlike Israel, the Palestinians do not have any factories manufacturing mines or rockets and are forced instead to make them out of any spare metal parts they can get their hands on — doors, pipes, wrecked cars, fridges — this evidence is meaningless. Palestinian witnesses have already said the beach victims were standing close to taxis when the shell exploded. So if the shrapnel was not from an Israeli shell, it suggests only that the missile also damaged other metal objects — possibly the cars — sending a shard into at least one of the victims.

The army will have a lot of explaining to do if reports on Israeli TV, not usually noted for its independent approach, confirm that another piece of shrapnel found in a victim is from an Israeli shell. So far, of course, the army is denying the report.

The second piece of evidence is supplied by the army, which says one of its many drones that circle overhead spying on Gaza round the clock shows the families calmly still on the beach, and later an ambulance arriving, tens of minutes after the army had finished shelling the area.

The problem with the Israeli evidence is that we have to take the army’s word for it: that the families shown are the ones who were about to be shelled, and that the timings given are accurate.

It also means we have to discount a lot of counter-evidence supplied by Garlasco, journalists, doctors and Palestinian witnesses — and even the Israeli army. The army, for example, has admitted that one of the shells it fired in the area is unaccounted for, a striking admission in itself. The drones apparently were no help in locating this “missing” explosion, even though they were spying on the area.

Garlasco has already determined that the injuries sustained by the beach victims accord with a blast above ground — an Israeli shell — rather than one underground — a Palestinian mine.

The many Palestinian witnesses have all put the time of the blast close to when the shelling occurred, and report that the reason they were queuing for taxis was because of panic sown by the shells they were hearing landing nearby.

Independent journalists have shown that, according to the clocks on the hospital computers that admitted the dead and injured, the timing of the first blood tests were taken soon after the Israeli army shelling — and certainly too soon to accord with the army’s account of when the Palestinian mine supposedly exploded. Doctors have also confirmed that they were called to the nearest hospitals well before 5pm — at about the time, or even before, the army claims the mine went off.

The outrage expressed in some quarters at the failure simply to believe the army’s version might sound more convincing were Israel welcoming an international investigation to adjudicate on the matter. But of course it is not. Just as in spring 2002, following the deaths of many civilians in the Palestinian town of Jenin and the destruction of the heart of the local refugee camp during a prolonged attack by the Israeli army and air force, Israel is rejecting all suggestions of an independent inquiry.

So why not just take Israel’s word for it? Its army is the most moral in the world, after all, and a state of law like Israel would gain nothing from lying in such a bare-faced manner.

The only problem is that Israel and its security forces have been caught out lying repeatedly during this intifada and before it, not just to people on the other side of the world who cannot verify the facts but also to its own courts and public.

Ths week, for example, the Supreme Court ordered the army and Ministry of Defence to pull down several kilometres of the steel and concrete barrier they have erected on Palestinian land in the West Bank after it was proved that the security considerations behind the choice of the wall’s route were entirely bogus. Official documents reveal that the wall was located there to allow for the future expansion of nearly illegal Jewish settlements on yet more Palestinian land. The army and government concocted the fib and then stuck to it for more than two years. Chief Justice Aharaon Barak called their systematic lying “a grave phenomenon”.

And at the start of the intifada, back in October 2000, the government and police covered up the fact that live ammunition and sniper units trained to deal with terror attacks had been used against unarmed Arab demonstrators inside Israel. For more than six months the government and security services denied that a single live round had been fired, despite mounting evidence to the contrary that lawyers and journalists like myself had unearthed.

They might have got away with their brazen lies too, had it not been for an unusual series of events that led to the appointment of a state inquiry headed by a Supreme Court judge, Theodor Or, who quickly exposed the truth.

That happened not because of any urge by official bodies to come clean or the inevitable triumph of Israeli justice. It happened for one reason alone: the prime minister of the day, Ehud Barak, feared losing the impending general election to his rival Ariel Sharon and thought he could buy back Arab votes by setting up an inquiry.

The inhabitants of Gaza have no such leverage inside the Israeli legal and political system. They have no friends inside Israel. And now it looks like they have no friends in the international community either.

Jonathan Cook, a writer and journalist living in Nazareth, Israel, is the author of “Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State”, published by Pluto Press. His website is http://www.jkcook.net

These children were killed last week by Israeli shells on a beach in Gaza.


Hmmmmm… OK… former President Taylor of Liberia is on his way to the Hague to ‘stand trial’ for war crimes against humanity…

Who else would we like to see there?
My choices are….
George Dubya Bush
Tony Blair
Stephen Harper
Ehud Olmert

Feel free to add to this list.

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