WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PFLP (POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE) ?

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank


The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is not what it used to be. Today the organization which sired Laila Khalid, George Habash and many other luminaries in the skies of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice is functioning very much like a hanger-on vis-à-vis the American backed Palestinian Authority (PA).


The continuing affinity between de-facto PFLP leader Abdel Rahim Mallouh and his namesake, the Chairman of the PA and Fatah Chief Mahmoud Abbas seems to suggest that the leftist group is effectively abandoning its erstwhile principles. What is even more shocking is that the scandalous misdeeds of the Ramallah regime is having little bearing if any on the marriage of convenience between the PFLP and the PA leadership.


Not too long ago, the PFLP didn’t hesitate to physically eliminate any Palestinian figure that would “cross the red lines” with regard to dealing with the colonialist Israeli occupiers. The assassination by a PFLP cadre more than two decades ago of the Israeli-appointed by PLO-accepted former mayor of Nablus, Thafer al Masri, can be viewed as a classical example in this regard.


Now, however, with virtually all Palestinian red-lines being crossed in broad daylight by the PA leadership, the PFLP is not only silent and submissive but is also providing a certain cover of “national consensus” to legitimize policies and practices that George Habash, Abu Ali Mustafa, Wadee’ Haddad and Ghassan Kanafani would have viewed as representing ultimate national treason.


Since the inauspicious Oslo Accords more than 15 years ago, the PFLP has been projecting itself as representing the conscience of Palestinian secular nationalism.


However, the past few years witnessed a serious deterioration in PFLP commitment to upholding and safeguarding Palestinian national goals and interests.


At the theoretical level, the PFLP leadership continues to recite the same old rhetorical rituals about the evils of Zionism of the American-led imperialistic camp.


However, in a sharp contrast to the high-sounding rhetoric, the PFLP leadership has been quietly and obediently walking, side by side with the Ramallah-based regime, in the path of sacrificing national interests for the sake of obtaining American and Israeli acceptance.


In fact, the PFLP has committed more than just forgivable mistakes. It has committed grave sins which really dishonor and disfigure the history of an organization that always judged individuals, entities and regimes in accordance with the level of their subservience to American imperialism.

Let us examine some of the national and moral blunders recently made by the PFLP, which I am sure make many of the group’s members and supporters seethe with anger.


The current PFLP leadership ( I am talking about Mallouh, not Ahmed Sadaat who is languishing in Israeli dungeons) has effectively allowed Abbas to manipulate the PFLP as a cheap and readily-available propaganda pawn in the enduring showdown between Fatah and Hamas. This is a fact that many honest PFLP leaders, such as Khalida Jarrar, readily acknowledge.


Moreover, whenever Abbas wants to advance his own approach toward ceding Palestinian national rights, such as the paramount right of return, or gain propaganda points in the crisis with Hamas, he simply invokes the old boring mantra that the PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.


Interestingly, this is done despite the fact that the policies pursued and the goals sought by Abbas and his regime, which survives on handouts from the US, Europe and some oil-rich Arab states, constitute the exact antithesis of the very goals and aspirations the PLO was founded to achieve.


In addition, the PFLP leadership said nothing and did nothing during all these years when the Fatah group was steadily eroding, corrupting and eviscerating the PLO of its national substance and even relevance until the organization eventually became a mere pale ghost of it once was.


A few months ago, I asked Mr. Mallouh during a Ramallah conference if his faction would still cling to the PLO if the Abbas regime compromised on the inviolable Palestinian national constants such as Jerusalem, the right of return for the refugees and Jewish colonies on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


Mallouh refrained from giving a straightforward answer. In stead, he said that “we shall cross the bridge when we reach it.”


But Mallouh and all the Palestinians have already reached the bridged as Mr. Abbas has been saying in no unmistakable terms that he won’t demand the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes and ancestral motherland in what is now Israel.


Yes lower-ranking PFLP operatives did condemn Abbas’s remarks, which should be commended and appreciated.


But the deafening silence of Mallouh and his close associates can’t be forgiven. This is not the same PFLP that we grew with and respected.


It is really sad that the PFLP, along with other Palestinian groups and organizations that claim to adhere to the leftist traditions of siding with the worker-class and upholding the principles of justice, is surrendering to the American hegemony, either for the sake of money or out of despair of the possibility of defeating the imperialistic schemes.


These organizations seem to have preferred to appease the PA, the Israelis and Americans rather than speaking up and loudly protesting some of the manifestly criminal acts that Israel and the PA have been carrying out in the West Bank, including the destruction or closure of boarding schools, orphanages, charities and other civil institutions serving poor Palestinians and enhancing their ability to withstand the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.


More to the point, the PFLP stood silent while the American-backed regime in Ramallah refused to pay regular salaries to some 6000 teachers whose dossiers and files continued to be withheld in the Mukhabarat (General Intelligence) offices in Ramallah.


So, why did the PFLP not speak up on behalf of these wronged people? Why did Mallouh not urge his close friend Abbas to treat these unfortunate working men and women with the respect and dignity they deserve?


Another serious behavioral flaw undermining the image and reputation of the PFLP is the continued companionship of Mallouh and Abbas, which suggests that the leftist group has no serious objections to the full-fledged conversion of the PA regime to the American-Zionist camp. Is the PFLP leadership too gullible to realize that the PA has become an integral part of the overall American scheme against the forces of resistance and steadfastness in the Middle East?


Finally, the PFLP silence in the face of the police-state regime being consolidated in the West Bank, thanks to the active intervention by the CIA and Israel, is more than telling. It reflects a high level of complacency and moral bankruptcy on the part of the PFLP leadership which watches all these blasphemous acts being committed while keeping its mouth shut.


In fact, the PFLP seems to follow the old adage: “if speech is silver, silence is gold,” but in an obviously pathetic manner. Maybe the real adage the PFLP leadership is adopting these days is that which was coined by Saadi Shirazi, “when money appears, heads bow.”


Unfortunately, this seems to be the most plausible explanation of PFLP behavior vis-à-vis the PA in recent years.


To be sure, no one expects the PFLP to assume the role of a mighty rectifier or leveler on the Palestinian arena.


However, the PFLP is expected to be at the very least faithful to its own principles, especially those pertaining to the sanctity of Palestinian rights and honor and dignity of the Palestinian struggle, both of which are being clearly compromised by the very entity the PFLP leadership is now pandering to.

THE NEW FACE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Ramblings and Realities……

Islamophobia has become the new Cold War of the 21st century.

When all else fails, blame the Muslims…. that’s the name of the new ‘game’. When issues are not the case, point a finger, accuse the opponent of ‘being one of them’. It worked in the 50’s when the word ‘communist’ was the worst accusation possible, why not play by those same rules?

We are living in different times today. We are able to see beyond the finger pointing today. Today the rules are slightly different …. in the 50’s, the fingers were pointed at individuals or organisations, today they are pointed at entire nations.

As a child, I was taught in school that ‘Islam was the religion of the sword’…. it was something to be wary of, something to watch very carefully. We were being prepared to face the ‘new enemy’. It was ‘the next in line’ after communism…. the enemy of the future.

Looking back to my early school years it’s hard not to remember the ‘air raid drills’ that we had during class. We were told that the Russians had nuclear bombs (thanks to the American spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) {good Islamic sounding names BTW}. We were also told that they planned to use those bombs on us. We were issued ‘ID’ tags, much like the ones issued to soldiers. On it was our name, address and names of our parents. We were told to put these under our tongues whenever there was a drill. During the drill itself we had to crouch under our desks. It was explained to us that if there actually was an attack, we would be able to be identified by the tags in our mouths, and our parents could then be notified….

??????????????????????????????????????????????????

That logic makes about as much sense as the rest of the Cold War. Notify our parents???? They weren’t killed as well??? They were only two blocks away when the bomb fell…. SHEESH!

Jump to the 2000’s…… same bomb, same fear….. different enemy–Iran, which just happens to be an Islamic nation.

As a side note, let’s take a look at that bomb…. who was the first to get it? Who was the first to use it?? On August 6th 1945 the United States dropped that bomb on the civilian city of Hiroshima. Three days later they dropped another one on the civilian city of Nagasaki.

SO….. from those two actions alone we can see who the real enemy is…

As Americans, we were lied to by the government our entire lives… anyone that lived through the Cold War and McCarthy era can see that. Why then are we swallowing the line that Islam is the enemy?
Let’s look at some realities….
Who at present is the aggressor in Iraq?
Who is threatening to literally wipe the Islamic Republic of Iran off the map??
Who is systematically killing off the entire nation of Palestine???
Anyone with eyes, ears and a functioning brain can see who the actual enemy is….
Islam is the victim, not the enemy.
The attempts by the West and by Israel will not alter that fact. The dehuminisation of Islam will not change the above realities.

Overcoming ignorance is the only way to change the situation. Look at the realities of the world we are living in…. look at who is holding the guns, dropping the bombs…. with your money….
Only you can put an end to this.

JESSE JACKSON SHOULD SEAL HIS LIPS…..

The ‘mouth that roared’ is at it again….. speaking before he thinks. The self declared spokesman for the Afro American community in America often says things totally removed from reality…. often doing more harm than the supposed good he might have intended.

He has never been a favourite of the Jewish community because of remarks made years ago, referring to New York City as ‘Hymie Town’. His own attempts to receive the nomination from the Democratic Party ended in failure.

Now it seems he is trying his best to insure that Obama does not win the election. The last thing the Obama campaign needs at this time is the likes of a Jesse Jackson speaking about or for them…
Case in point are his ramblings of yesterday when he stated that “Obama will rid United States of ‘Zionist’ control”. Whether that is true or not (hopefully it is) is not the point, the point being that the statement might be responsible for a great loss of support among the Jewish voters.

Too many people have been doing the speaking for Obama… none in a good way. Jackson certainly has not been of help. It’s time for him to realise that he is not the man he thinks he is… he’s nothing but a mouth without a brain.

A report dealing with his statements yesterday can be read HERE.

‘THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST’ ~~ MYTH OF THE CENTURY

Israel’s democratic facade erodes
Ziyaad Lunat

A Palestinian home torched during the Acre riots.
Recent riots in the Israeli town of Acre have attracted unwanted attention towards its Arab residents, Palestinian citizens of Israel who make a third of the city’s population. The disturbances began after Jewish extremists attacked a Palestinian man for driving during the religious holiday of Yom Kippur, when traffic in Israel largely comes to a halt. This was followed by an outbreak of violence during which Jewish mobs attacked the Palestinian neighborhood in Acre’s old city, throwing stones and torching homes.

These events have been interpreted by mainstream media as an aberration in Israel’s model “democracy.” The BBC echoed official Israeli discourse, emphasizing that the so-called “Israeli-Arabs” “have full rights as Israeli citizens.” Meanwhile, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Acre “a shining example of co-existence.” However, the latest disturbances have brought to the fore a deeper issue: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from inside Israel by Israeli Jewish extremists. According to Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, the violence at Acre was reminiscent of Bosnia, with mobs dehumanizing and inciting hatred against the Palestinians.

Historically, the Zionist state has been in the forefront of the efforts to suppress its Palestinian citizens, through a complex legal framework that circumspectly discriminates against them, but allows for Israel to sustain a “democratic” facade. One example of state discrimination is Israel’s policy of expropriating land from Palestinians and reserving it for “the Jewish people in perpetuity” and allowing the Jewish National Fund to administer these properties. This is matched by a separate, but related, policy of house demolitions linked to severe restriction on building permits that are designed to contain Palestinian urban growth within Israel. Therefore, the state has acted as a guarantor of the fragile and often contradictory relationship between democratic values and Zionist’s racial doctrine.

Israel provides political representation for its Palestinian citizens, as well as other social and economic rights, but only to the extent of their submissive acceptance of Jewish domination of the public sphere. This means that only the Zionist establishment can dictate the rules of the game for which the Palestinians are allowed to maintain their citizenship rights. In turn, the Israeli state displays its Palestinian citizens as a token of its democratic principles and practices to the rest of the world.

In spite of these measures, Palestinian citizens of Israel have progressively consolidated their capacity for political mobilization and have demanded equal rights under the banner of “a state for all its citizens.” There has also been a growing recognition of their common faith with their Palestinian brethren in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. This connection was evident in October 2000, when Israeli security forces killed 13 of its own Palestinian citizens who were protesting in solidarity with Palestinians under occupation in the first month of the second Palestinian intifada.

As a result, the Zionist state found itself having to deal with a “Palestinian problem” in the occupied territories and it became increasingly anxious about the “demographic threat” that its own Palestinian citizens came to represent. Israeli politicians on the left and right of the political spectrum have tried to devise solutions to contain the growing political and demographic strength of its Palestinian citizens. Some have advocated the “transfer” of the Palestinian citizens residing close to the internationally-recognized armistice line marking the boundary between Israel and the West Bank as part of a land swap with the Palestinian Authority in final status negotiations. Tzipi Livni, the prime minister delegate, argued that a Palestinian state would also provide a national solution for the Palestinian citizens of the Jewish state, hinting that they should voluntarily move to the Bantustans if unhappy with the Jewish state. More recently, there were proposals for a national service program as a means to compel Arab loyalty to the state.

The Zionist state however, in its efforts to maintain international legitimacy, has been incapable of devising a radical “final solution” for its Palestinian citizens, mirroring the ethnic cleansing of 1948, which would appease an increasingly impatient electorate. Jewish Israelis have progressively shifted their views to the far right and are increasingly prone to hold extremist views. A 2007 poll by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel shows that half of Jewish Israelis want their government to encourage Jewish emigration from Israel and 75 percent of Jewish youths said Arabs are less intelligent and clean than Jews. These results echo other similar surveys that indicate widespread racism within Jewish Israeli society and these voices have been growing inside government, too.

Extremist elements inside Israel have thus successfully mobilized to bypass the state and take matters into their own hands, for the state is increasingly seen as incapable of silencing Palestinian demands for full equality. The settler movement, long known for operating in this manner, have pioneered this model in the occupied territories. A settler pogrom on the village Asira al-Qabaliya last month alarmed the Israeli establishment by openly demonstrating its inability to control its most extremist citizens. This rift has now crossed into Israel, signaling a new struggle.

Last month, Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, a member of Peace Now, was the victim of an ideologically-motivated bomb attack by Zionist extremists who oppose any governmental “concessions” with the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Not only are the latest mob riots in Acre an expression of a deeply-rooted antagonism towards the Palestinian citizens of Israel, but they also signify a shift within Israeli society, where Zionist zealots bypass the state to articulate their supremacist ideology.

Thus, the Israeli establishment now has to deal with its own intra-communal conflict. Since its creation, Israel has tried to reconcile its image as a “democracy” with the Jewish exclusivist ideology of Zionism and must now contend with its own extremists, who do will not hesitate to wage war against the state in order to further redeem the land of “greater” Israel for an exclusively Jewish population. This rift is slowly disintegrating Israel’s facade of co-existence and it is only a matter of time before Israel’s internal contradictions are laid bare to the eyes of the world.

Ziyaad Lunat is a long-term activist for Palestinian rights. He is currently on the organizing committee of the Nakba60-London, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Palestinian dispossession and on the coordinating committee of Emory Advocates for Justice in Palestine, in Atlanta. He can be reached at z.lunat A T gmail D O T com.

Source

AN ISRAELI FAIRY TALE

A Fairy Tale

By Uri Avnery
Recently I was asked by the German Else-Laker-Schueler-Gesellschaft, which commemorates the German-Jewish-Israeli poetess, to describe how peace would look like. On the eve of Yom Kippur, the day of reconciliation, I would like to distribute it instead of my weekly article.

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`If you want, it is no fairy tale!` Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism

`You don`t want? Forget it!` Hebrew graffiti with Herzl`s picture in Tel Aviv

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015.

It has happened.

In a solemn ceremony, on a stage bedecked with Israeli and Palestinian flags, the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine has been signed.

Negotiations did not take long. The essential elements of the treaty had been known for a long time. The document held no real surprises.

Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine. The border between the two states was based on the so-called Green Line (the pre-1967 line), but both parties agreed on a limited exchange of territory. About 5% of the West Bank, including several `settlement blocs`, were joined to Israel, in exchange for an equivalent area alongside the Gaza Strip. Both sides expressed the wish to keep the border open for the movement of people and goods.

In Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods, including al-Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) became part of Palestine, while Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall stayed in Israel. The two halves of Jerusalem remained physically united under a joint municipal authority, with equal representation.

Israel agreed to remove all settlements from the territory of Palestine.

On the refugee problem, a complex solution was found. A Committee of Truth and Reconciliation (CTR) was set up to investigate the events of 1948 and 1967 which led to the displacement of the refugees. Both sides agreed to abide by its findings. The CTR was composed of respected Israeli, Palestinian and international historians.

Israel recognized in principle the Right of Return, but both sides agreed that only a limited and mutually agreed-upon number would be enabled to return to Israeli territory, while all the others would be compensated and settled in the State of Palestine or elsewhere, according to their wishes, with international assistance.

Another committee was appointed to see to a just distribution of the water resources, and especially to the large-scale desalination of sea water, with international help, for the benefit of both sides.

After the Presidents of Israel and Palestine shook hands, all present shared in a minute of silence, in memory of all those who died in the generations-old conflict.

The secretary of the Arab League declared the treaty to be in conformity with the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and confirmed that all member states of the League would establish normal relations with Israel.

THE HISTORIC event was preceded by far-reaching changes on both sides.

After a long and painful rift, the new Palestinian President had succeeded in uniting the warring Palestinian factions in a rejuvenated PLO and a Provisional Government of Palestine. After some recriminations, both Hamas and Fatah supported the treaty.

In Israel, a charismatic new leader, who enjoyed much public respect, had succeeded in alerting public opinion to the dangers of the ongoing state of war in a region full of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. His new party, which attracted not only leaders and members from all the discredited old parties, but also a whole generation of young people who entered politics to bring about a change, had won a resounding election victory. The peace movement, which had long been dormant, played a major role in this upheaval.

When the two new Presidents shook hands, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief.

BUT THE signing of the document by the politicians was only the beginning of the struggle. As everybody knew, a decisive confrontation between the Israeli government and the settlers was looming.

The settlers and their allies had spent years preparing for this test. Supported by major elements of the army and the various ministries, they had access to large resources of arms and money. Many of them were determined to wage a civil war, if it came to it.

However, when the clash came, it was much less dramatic than had been feared. As agreed with the Palestinians, the settlers were allowed a year to leave voluntarily in return for very generous compensation. After initial hesitation, about half of the settlers accepted the offer and actually left the occupied territories. The rest were demoralized by the solid support of the great majority of the Israeli public for the peace treaty.

In the end, actual fighting was sporadic. In the hour of crisis, Israeli democracy stood the test and the army remained solidly loyal to the government, despite the efforts the settlers had been making for years to infiltrate the officers` corps.

THE COMPARATIVE ease with which both governments overcame the often violent opposition in their respective countries was also due to the active support of the international community.

Many commentators doubted whether the peace treaty would have been possible without the profound change of US policy in the Middle East. After the 2012 elections, the President announced that America`s basic interests demanded an even-handed approach in order to overcome the hatred millions of Muslims felt for America. `We shall support both Israel and Palestine in their valiant quest for peace,` he declared. The pro-Israel lobby did not dare oppose this, sensing the fundamental change in American public opinion and fearing an anti-Semitic backlash.

Europe followed suit, as always.

IN ISRAEL, the public was quick to realize the practical benefits of peace. New joint Israeli-Arab ventures attracted large foreign investments. Following the earlier peace treaty with Syria, Israeli entrepreneurs were already busy in Damascus, making lucrative deals in a Syrian economy that was springing to new life. The Syrians, by the way, allowed the Israeli wine industry on the Golan Heights to continue operating. `Let`s go and eat Hummus in Damascus` became an Israeli slogan. And indeed, Israelis crowded the famous bazaars of that ancient city, turning the trip to the Syrian capital into an exciting experience.

While Arab businessmen were filling the hotels in Tel Aviv, looking for joint ventures, their Israeli counterparts were flocking to Riyadh, Baghdad, Doha and Dubai. Stories of their successes filled the television news programs and eclipsed the sight of settlers trying to repeat the scenes of the Gaza `disengagement` ten years earlier.

Owing to their position between Israel and the Arab world, Palestinians became sought-after middlemen. Former inmates of Israeli prisons, speaking excellent Hebrew, were especially successful in creating business connections. So were Arab citizens of Israel, with their intimate knowledge of Israeli political and economic processes. Their standard of living rose steeply to about that of Jewish Israelis. Their birthrate fell, as is usual with increased prosperity.

In this atmosphere, the return of several thousand Palestinian refugees to Israel passed almost without comment. Since the rapid growth of the Israeli economy had attracted many Jews from abroad, the `demographic balance` hardly changed.

Politicians and economists on both sides started to raise the idea of a `Middle Eastern Union`, a political, economic and security organization on the lines of the European Union. Others were talking of a confederation of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, perhaps also including Lebanon, where Hizbullah was by now a well established government party.

THE ISRAELI army remained a powerful instrument for protecting the state. But as in the US and Western Europe, the best and the brightest were drawn to high-tech, science and business. Soon the old conflict was seen as a thing of the past.

In the end, the old adage that `peace is not made between governments but between peoples` was prove once more. Human relations, economic interests and the passage of time completed the process that started with the formal peace treaty.

Source

FASCIST TRENDS IN ISRAEL BECOMING MORE PRONOUNCED

Fascist trends in Israel becoming more pronounced

By Khalid Amayreh

Occupied Jerusalem

Whenever comparisons between the Nazi treatment of Jews prior to and during World War II and Israeli treatment of Palestinians (and other peoples of the Middle East) are made, Zionist apologists hasten to dismiss the analogies as unjustified and corrupt. They correctly but misleadingly argue that Palestinians are not being shipped to gas chambers and are actually allowed by Israel to maintain a semblance of normal life despite the often draconian restrictions imposed on them.

It is of course true that Palestinians are not being shipped to concentration camps; it is also true that many Palestinians, and despite all the evils of the occupation, are still maintaining a semblance of normal life, although such “normality” is likely to be viewed by many people, including Jews, as utterly abnormal, even unbearable.

The catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip remains a damning proof of the moral callousness and utter criminality characterizing Israeli treatment of Palestinians.


Prior to the Egyptian-mediated truce between Hamas and Israel several months ago, Israeli officials never stopped blaming Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot and other Israeli settlements in the region for the hermetic blockade of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.


However, while calm and tranquility are prevailing in Sderot, Gaza is still very much a virtual concentration camp, with innocent people dying on a daily basis because they are not allowed access to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip. Moreover, consumer products allowed into Gaza by the Israeli occupation army are still very limited in both quality and quantity.


In addition, the enduring blockade of the coastal enclave is forcing many Gazan breadwinners to risk their lives by digging dangerous tunnels beneath the Egyptian-Gaza borders in order to obtain food, fuel, medicine, and other badly needed consumer items.


According to reliable sources, as many as 29 young Gazans have so far lost their lives, venturing to make a living by smuggling consumer commodities into Gaza from Egypt.


Doesn’t this remind us of how blockaded Jews were forced to smuggle food into Ghetto Warsaw in 1943?


In fact, the Israeli moral callousness toward Gaza is only a reflection of a malicious collective mindset which doesn’t differs much in its essence from the Nazi mindset against Jews.


Yes, the scope of oppression and death is not the same; but the hatefulness, the vindictiveness and maliciousness are certainly the same. Moreover, what makes the Nazi analogy especially relevant and inescapable is the fact that Israel would embark on the unthinkable if “the international situation” was conducive to carrying out the contemplated task!!!


Today, there are truly Nazi perceptions and trends permeating through the Israeli Jewish society with regard to the Palestinians. Needless to say, these perceptions and trends are strikingly similar to the anti-Jewish discourse that prevailed in Germany prior to the holocaust, especially between 1920-1939.


Take, for example, the virtual pogrom being carried out against the native Palestinian community in the coastal city of Akka at the hands of Jewish thugs.


The failure, or perhaps unwillingness, of the Israeli government to stop the rampant incitement against Israel’s Arab citizens, which inevitably led to current anti-Arab hysteria in Akka, can be compared with the failure of the German authorities to suppress the anti-Jewish wave of hatred throughout Germany prior to the Second World War.


Indeed, one is always prompted to ask what kind of state would allow the followers of Meir Kahana, the Nazi-like Rabbi who called for a genocidal ethnic cleansing of native Arabs from Palestine-Israel, to shout ad nauseam “mavet le Arabim” (death to the Arabs) and “Arabs out”?


One is equally compelled to wonder what kind of educational system and what kind of culture would produce people who keep repeating hate-filled mottos such as “a Jew is the son of a king, an Arab is the son of a dog.”!!


Okay, suppose an Arab resident violated the calm of Yom Kippur by driving his car near a Jewish neighborhood. Does this manifestly innocuous miscalculation, if indeed it was, justify this wild hysteria? Does it justify the attempted lynching of that person and his family? Does it justify all the incitement and the “death-to-the-Arabs” slogans now being heard in many parts of Israel?


Yom Kippur we are told is about attaining soul-purification and spiritual enrichment. However, in light of the horrific images from Akka and the West Bank we have been watching on our TV screens, one wonders whether these thugs can see any difference between being religious and being criminal.

Unfortunately, the hateful uprising by Jews against native Palestinians in Akka is only the tip of the iceberg. I am saying this because there seem to be this layers upon thick layers of racism among many Israeli Jews against non-Jews in Palestine-Israel.


In recent weeks, Israeli officials, including army commanders and defense establishment figures have made extremely serious statements, warning that Israel would annihilate hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians in any prospective fresh hostilities.


One army commander said “there will be a vast amount of collateral damage.” Needless to say, the reference to collateral damage here is only a euphemism for wide-scale massacres. Another Israel figure said Israel would resort to “the Dresden scenario,” an allusion to the holocaustic destruction by the British and American air forces of the German town in the closing months of the Second World War.


A few days ago, one Israeli right-winger said he would recommend that the Israeli government create a separate water-carrier system for non-Jews in Israel in order to be able to add special chemicals to the water for the purpose of making the Arabs sterile and consequently reduce their birth rate..


People in Europe, North America and the rest of the world might think that such voices are marginal and isolated and don’t represent mainstream thinking in Israel. Well, I wish this were true.
But it is not.

The Israeli society today is drifting toward full-fledged fascism as many courageous Israelis would readily admit. The nearly daily pogrom-like attacks perpetrated by Nazi-minded settlers in the West Bank against helpless Palestinian villagers and farmers as well as the recent assassination attempt on the life of an Israeli professor who calls for ending the occupation are just preliminary pretenders for things to come.


Interestingly, until fairly recently, brazenly racist behaviors in Israel drew some denunciations, however half-hearted and disingenuous, from western capitals. Now, however, unprincipled western, especially American politicians, would think twice before denouncing Israeli crimes, let alone Israeli racism.


The deep fear of the Jewish pressure groups has morally blinded American politicians and generally corrupted the moral discourse in north American and much of Europe.


This means that Palestinians can’t really count on the west to forestall possible genocidal designs by Israel. Hence, alternatives must be sought to make sure that Israel is not allowed to transform her criminal urges into actions.


This paramount goal can be achieved by way of building a worldwide movement whose main task will be to closely monitor Israeli behavior against non-Jews in Israel-Palestine.


In short, Israel must not be allowed to desensitize the conscience of the world as Germany did more than six decades ago.


Because the outcome would be catastrophic at all levels.

COLUMBUS IS NOBODY WORTH CELEBRATING

Columbus Day Sanitized
(From “Spin”)

Excerpt from Brian Springer’s movie “Spin”

Excerpt from “The Canary Effect”

During the 1970s Bush Sr. masterminded a covert program that sterilized over 40% of Native American women against their will and without their consent.

The Columbus Myth

It’s the original American myth and one protected at all costs.

I’m half Italian and there are many reasons to be proud of my heritage but the record of Columbus is not one of them.

What a disgrace to our country’s honor that year after year the sanitized memory of this greed-obsessed, homicidal psychopath is honored.

What an insult to the native people from whom America was stolen.

JEWS REMEMBER….BUT TOO OFTEN FORGET

Tonight is the start of the eight day festival of Sukkot ; the Feast of Tabernacles. According to the link provided, Sukkot commemorates the wanderings of the Israelites, which began with the exodus from Egypt (Passover) and continues with the giving of the Torah at Sinai (Shavuot) and ends with the wandering in the desert for the full 40 years as punishment for the sin of the golden calf. Most Jewish Festivals commemorate something that happened in our history….. the concept is TO REMEMBER and TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN.

Which brings to mind a question…. Why is it that so many of these people seem to FORGET that Ismael and Isaac were brothers?… both from the same Father… Abraham. One often hears Jews refer to Arabs as ‘our cousins’…. it is the truth. But, the problem is, they are not treated as such. They are treated as enemies, outsiders, terrorists. Is this how we treat family members? Instead, we should be united with the Palestinians in their struggle to establish a state of their own… united we can do it and united we can show that we truly are a family… not strangers. As part of the commemorations that the Jews love so much, why can’t there be another celebration…to commemorate the birth of Ismael. This could also be used as a tool TO REMEMBER and TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN…. it might even lead to a glorious concept called PEACE….

That concept does not have to remain a dream forever… it can become REALITY… if we only REMEMBER.
CHAG SUKKOT SAMEACH~~~~~~HAPPY SUKKOT!

HINEH MA TOV

HOW GOOD IT IS Hineh ma tov uma na’im
Shevet achim gam yachad.

Hineh ma tov uma na’im
Shevet achim gam yachad.

Chorus
Hineh ma tov
Shevet achim gam yachad.

How good and pleasant it is
For brothers & sisters to sit together.

How good and pleasant it is
For brothers & sisters to sit together.

Chorus
How good it is
For brothers & sisters to sit together.

NATIONS BEING BRAINWASHED TO HATE

Israeli rioters chant racist slogans like “death to Arabs”
The recent events in Acre are being exploited both by the media here in Israel as well as by extremists on both sides of the ‘fence’. The message they are sending to us is that Arabs and Jews cannot live together.


The Arab driver of the car that supposedly sparked the riots appeared in the Knesset today to apologise to the Jews of Israel for his ‘mistake’. The Arab man who drove into a Jewish neighborhood in Acre on the eve of Yom Kippur, sparking a series of riots and violent clashes, told the Knesset Committee of the Interior on Sunday that he would “sacrifice his neck” to bring coexistence back to the bi-national northern city.

“If what I did cause this, I am ready to sacrifice my neck right here on this table, on lowered gallows, just to return peace and quiet back to the city of Acre, to bring co-existence back to its place. A report of this can be read HERE.

The man’s remarks sparked debates between the extreme rightist Knesset members and more liberal ones.

In Gaza, Hamas lawmaker MP Mushir Al-Masri insinuated that ‘Coexistence with Israeli enemy impossible after brutal attacks in Akka’. A report dealing with that can be read HERE

Tonight on the state owned T.V. network, Israel 1, a film was screened immediately after the nine o’clock news. It was called October 2000 and dealt with events that took place at the beginning of the Second Intifada. THIS article deals with those events. But why did Israel T.V. chose to air that film tonight is what I’d like to know… tonight when tensions are high throughout the country because of the events in Acre. Is this the zionist response, a response that is meant to brainwash the nation to their opinion that Jew and Arab cannot live together? Is this their way of justifying the wall of apartheid that separates our two peoples in most parts of the occupied areas?

It won’t work! We CAN live together and we WILL…. BUT, the Palestinian people MUST be granted statehood. Those Palestinians living in Israel must be granted FIRST CLASS STATUS. Hatred is NOT the solution. Apartheid is NOT the solution. Mutual respect and recognition of each others’ rights will lead to a just peace…. THAT IS THE SOLUTION!

‘THE ARABS WILL KILL YOU WITH KNIVES’


Acre Jews warn ‘The Arabs will kill you with knives.’

By Gideon Levy

A young woman – kerchief on her head, baby in her arms – stood behind the barred windows of her apartment yesterday and shouted: “Get all the Arabs out of here… We don’t want them here… They’ve made our lives a misery.”

The balcony blinds of the adjacent apartment are shattered. Its former residents, the family of Mahmoud Samary, are gone, having temporarily fled the hail of stones on their home. The young woman yelled: “They should get out. The Arabs are taking all our girls.”

It was Saturday afternoon at number 18, Burla Street in Acre – part of a crowded, shamefully neglected housing project where three Arab families and 29 Jewish families inhabit a single building. At the entrance to the building, a group of policemen stood around idly. The street was lined with cars with shattered windows.

It was not only Bosnia that Acre called to mind yesterday; the city was also reminiscent of Nablus – checkpoints at every corner, hundreds of policemen under every parched tree. A city that could have been a tourist attraction was instead the most miserable in Israel. My colleague Jack Khoury, an Israeli Arab, said as we entered the neighborhood: “I don’t believe I’m traveling here in such fear and tension.”

A young man who lives in the project told us aggressively: “Don’t you dare enter the Old City. The Arabs will kill you with knives.” He would like us to leave his neighborhood, too.

But the Old City, just a few minutes’ drive away, was another world: In that beautiful but neglected neighborhood, which was virtually empty yesterday, people were mourning the cancelation of Acre’s theater festival and still speaking of peace and coexistence.

Acre went up in flames all at once. It was a clash between poor and poor, Jews and Arabs, egged on by nationalists, with a religious holiday as the catalyst – the most dangerous of all possible clashes, which threatens to ignite a conflagration. The fire could be out by press time, but as of yesterday afternoon it seemed liable to break out anew: Young men from the housing project had agreed to meet at 7:30 P.M. that evening, God only knows why.

Yet even if the fire is extinguished now, it will reignite someday. This binational city is sitting on a volcano – a volcano of nationalism and distress, fear and hatred.

If the housing project was the tensest party of the city, the saddest was the Old City, where the empty halls were all that remained of the theater festival that was supposed to have taken place this week. The spotlights had been removed, the actors and directors were gone, the tables in the cafe on the lawn remained folded. Instead of the festival, Acre got a scandal – the scandal of its cancelation.

The technical crews said it was outrageous to cancel the most important event of Acre’s year “because of 100 or 200 psychos.” They suggested holding a reconciliation festival instead, and promised to ensure the guests’ safety. “You also fight with your wife, but then you go to bed with her,” analogized one, Asfari Khalil.

Munir Abu al-Tayir, who sells pomegranate juice, had thus far sold exactly two glasses all day. At a nearby felafel booth, a young Arab responded to Jewish claims that the riots were provoked by an Arab driver blasting music on Yom Kippur by saying that during Ramadan, the Jews had offended Arab sensibilities by drinking beer, but there were no Arab riots. Issam Jalem, owner of a barbershop, warned that without the festival, “things will not be good.”

To all, it was clear that Mayor Shimon Lankri’s hasty decision to cancel the festival had one purpose, and one only: to punish the Arabs who earn their living from the event.

F., an Arab resident of the largely-Jewish Kibbutz Galuyot Street, fled his house with his wife and children; now he fears the house will be torched. Salim Najami, a city councilor, denounced all extremists, Jewish and Arab alike. Daoud Halila, director of an Arab non-profit organization, accused the police of “pampering the Jews.” Long-time communist Salim Atrash blamed the disengagement from Gaza, saying an extremist yeshiva that opened in the city following the pullout has been fanning the flames.

Atrash pulled out a copy of a notice that has been circulating on the Internet: “We will no longer buy anything from Arabs, we will not honor any of their holidays or any place of theirs. Arabs of Acre, go find your place in the villages.” The notice was signed with an epigram: “A Jew is the son of a king, an Arab is the son of a dog.”


Welcome to a little Bosnia in the making.

Source

PALESTINE: OUSTING THE QUISLINGS IS SINE QUA NON FOR NATIONAL UNITY

Ousting the quislings is sine qua non for national unity

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

While most Palestinians are praying for the success of the ongoing efforts to end the lingering crisis between Fatah and Hamas, Fatah’s behavior in the West Bank indicates that the mainstream PLO faction is not really serious about national reconciliation.

In recent days and weeks, Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials made a plethora of serious statements suggesting that they value their inherently subservient relationship with Israel much more dearly than they do the cause of Palestinian national unity.

This week, the Chief of the “National Security Forces” in the West Bank, Diab al Ali, also known as Abu al Fath, reportedly described resistance to the Israeli occupation army as “a criminal act that produces criminals and murderers.”


The tone of Abu al Fath’s remarks caricatured a man who has put all his trust in the PA-Israeli “partnership” and who has turned his back to decades of bitter but heroic struggle by he Palestinian masses for freedom from the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.


Earlier, the main Palestinian security chiefs in the West Bank held a truly shameful meeting with their Israeli “counterparts” at the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah.


During that ignominious meeting, which took place in September, the PA chiefs, who are supposed to serve the national interests of their people, assured their Israeli “colleagues” that “we have one common enemy, that is Hamas,” and that “there is no conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.”

According to the Israeli journalist Nahom Barnea, who attended the infamous meeting as an observer, the Palestinian officers went as far as asking the commanders of the Israeli army, the very army that occupies their country and savages their people, to supply them with weapons and training so that the PA could re-conquer Gaza by force.


Unfortunately, the PA leadership completely ignored these brazenly treacherous behaviors, which in itself underscores the extent to which the PA leadership has drifted away from the Palestinian national discourse.


The perfidious collusion between the PA security apparatus and the Israeli occupation army against Palestinian national interests is only one aspect of an overall trend on the part of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian regime to eradicate Abu Ammar’s heritage.


True, the legacy bequeathed by the late Palestinian leader wasn’t particularly rosy. Abu Ammar did leave a myriad of security agencies plagued with corruption, ignorance, indiscipline and staffed with people with questionable credentials.

However, Yasser Arafat would have never allowed Fatah to stoop to this level by readily becoming an additional arm of the Israeli occupation to torment and further debilitate the Palestinian people.


Hence, the current PA behavior vis-à-vis Israel is nothing short of an a national apostasy of unprecedented proportions.


This is why, it is really difficult to be optimistic about the ongoing Egyptian efforts to end the split between Fatah and Hamas unless Fatah and the PA are willing to reverse their misdeeds.

True optimism can only be justified by good-will on both sides. Wishful thinking and prayers alone don’t breed optimism, let alone tangible results on the actual Palestinian arena.


To the chagrin of all Palestinians, the PA behavior in the West Bank doesn’t really foster mutual trust between Fatah and Hamas.


Indeed, how can Fatah, or more correctly those at the helm in Fatah, be trusted for achieving national reconciliation when masked armed men affiliated with Fatah continue on a daily basis to round up and maltreat suspected Hamas activists, mostly on flimsy and concocted charges?


True reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas should have been preceded by confidence-building measures such as stopping torture, freeing incarcerated journalists and political prisoners and reinstating civil servants unceremoniously fired from their jobs because of their political orientation. Hamas has already released the bulk of Fatah’s prisoners in Gaza, but Fatah has yet to stop the daily arrest of Hamas’s activists.


A few days ago, an elderly Palestinian whose son had been arrested by the Israeli occupation army told this writer that he breathed a sigh of relief because the 19-year-old college student was in the custody of the “authorities” rather than the “authority.”

When I asked the man why he thought the Israelis were more merciful than the PA, he said he was sure that this was the case.


Of course, the Israelis are not merciful at all, for they are the root cause of all evils in Palestine. Israel is itself a crime against humanity of unmatched proportions.

There is no doubt that the success of the Egyptian-mediated reconciliation efforts is a paramount national interest.


However, there are more than reasonable doubts that the security agencies, some of which have forged a strategic bondage with foreign elements, will do everything they could to derail, thwart and sabotage the reconciliation efforts.


This not soothsaying or delving into the realm of the unknown. After all, the restoration of national unity can’t be realized as long as the current quisling-occupier formula governing the relationship between the PA and Israel remains intact.


Fatah simply can’t embrace Israel with its right hand and Hamas with its left. The termination of the Israeli connection is therefore a sine qua non for the success of national unity talks in Cairo.


More to the point, the PA would have to sever or at least freeze its CIA connection, namely the near carte balance granted to the American intelligence apparatus to mold the Palestinian security apparatus in accordance with the Bush administration’s Islamophobic outlook whereby Islam is viewed as the enemy and Israel as a friend and ally in the war on “terror.”


One of the key contentious issues that will be discussed in Cairo is the restructuring of the Palestinian security apparatus according to professional standards. In other words, the present security apparatus in the West Bank would have to be dissolved and replaced by a new one chosen, not by a CIA general who is answerable to a Jewish-Zionist neocon in Washington D.C., but rather by a truly patriotic Palestinian government that is answerable and responsible, first and foremost, to the Palestinian people and their elected representatives.


Needless to say, in order to expedite these crucial goals, it might be necessary to dismiss all CIA-trained security personnel who were inculcated with the poisoned slogan that the enemy is Hamas, not Israel.


Indeed, the last thing Palestine and the Palestinian people need are “professional soldiers” who would shoot and kill their countrymen in the streets of Palestine on Israel’s behalf as happened in Hebron last year.


Hence, it is imperative that each and every cadre that would join the Palestinian security apparatus be un-contaminated with the CIA school of thought which teaches security men in Third World countries to shoot first and think afterwards. Such cadres would have to be reeducated and re-indoctrinated in the all-important principle that shedding Palestinian blood by Palestinian hands is an unforgivable crime amounting to grand treason. This principle would have to be applied meticulously in both Gaza and the West Bank and both Hamas’s and Fatah’s men would have to internalize it, or else they would be fired unapologetically.


Furthermore, the CIA method of selecting these cadres, e.g. only accepting people who scored very poorly in their schools and whose IQ is very low, would have to be scrapped and reversed. Hence, only people with a college degree and a reasonable intelligence level should be allowed to join the security apparatus because ultimately ignorant people wouldn’t make good soldiers.


I don’t believe that being meticulous about these matters is unwarranted. The behaviors of some members of the Palestinian security agencies toward their own people have been more than appalling.


I have seen masked soldiers humiliate and torture and beat innocent Palestinians on no other ground than the suspicion that the victim is affiliated with an Islamic student bloc or may be a supporter of Hamas.


Such vindictiveness would have to disappear from our life once and for all.

Otherwise, true Palestinian unity would remain a far-fetched dream.

POETRY CONTEST…. JOIN IN

Poetry Contest!! A Crunch Into Niemoller’s Credit
By Gilad Atzmon

A Crunch Into Niemoller’s Credit by Gilad Atzmon

A Palestine Think Tank Poetry Contest! Have fun, express yourself and get jazzed up!

Using the Niemoller Paradigm as the basis to express what is troubling you about the world today, create one, two or three poems. Put them in the comments section of Palestine Think Tank and the best will win the prize of an autographed copy of Gilad Atzmon’s “In Loving Memory Of America” (soon-to-be-released album).

Penniless United

First they came for my holiday home
and I didn’t speak up,
because I couldn’t afford a break anyway.
Then they came for my new car
and I didn’t speak up,
because I didn’t have the money to fill the tank.

Then they came for my fridge
and I didn’t speak up,
because I couldn’t find the cash to buy some sausage and mash.

Then they came for my pillow,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I couldn’t put my mind to rest.

Then they came for me,
but with no debts to pay back I was a penniless hack.
They moved on,
and left me alone.

The Road Map to Peace

First they came for the Neocons,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Neocon.

Then they came for the Bankers,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Banker.

Then they came for the Zionists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Zionist.

Then they came for me,
I invited them in for biscuits and tea.
They found me charming,
They left me alone.
They simply moved on.

Once they left
I stepped out of my door.
It was pretty quiet around,
It seemed as if we had fair chance for a new clean start.

The Chameleon

First they came for the Egalitarians,
and I didn’t speak up
because I only pretended to be an Egalitarian.

Then they came for the Libertarians,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I just claimed to be a Libertarian.

Then they came for the Cosmopolitans
and I didn’t speak up,
because I merely insisted to be a Cosmopolitan.Then they came for the Islamophobes,
and I kept quiet,
because I was an Islamophobe.

When they came for me,
no one could make up their mind whether I was an Egalitarian, a Libertarian, a Cosmopolitan or an Islamophobe.

There was no one left to speak up for me.


A Cosmopolitan Against Discrimination

First they came for the Marxists,
and I didn’t speak up
because I wasn’t a true Marxist.
Then they came for the Working Class,
and I didn’t speak up,
because though I support the unemployed, I’ve never worked a day in my life.

Then they came for the Muslims,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I didn’t care at all.

Then they said something about the Jews
and I freaked out
because I happen to be Jewish.

Source

A VOICE FROM GAZA ~~ SAVING PALESTINE — A MASSACRE OF CHILDREN

Image by David Baldinger
Saving Palestine–A Massacre of Children…

Sameh Akram Habeeb

In November 2006 a horrible war crime was committed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli army. The operation was not directed to some militants who were heading to fight Israel, but for an extended poor family! A neaby military operation was running by the same army in which they bulldozed farms, crushed cars and uprooted trees and streets. I remember the place of action as well as every single detail. I want to tell you again what has happened as I am encouraged, but not satisfied by what Archbishop Desmond Tutu said adter his visit of investigation to Gaza. He was too late to investigate a massacre after 2 years, but it’s better than nothing! He stigmatized Israel indirectly and held her responsible for that offence on civilians.

“In the absence of a well-founded explanation from the Israeli military – which is in sole possession of the relevant facts – the mission must conclude that there is a possibility that the shelling of Beit Hanoun constituted a war crime,” Tutu said in his report to the 47-member council.


Tutu also said that rockets fired by Palestinian militants into southern Israel should stop and should be investigated. “Those firing rockets on Israeli civilians are no less accountable than the Israeli military for their actions,” he said.


“It is not too late for an independent, impartial and transparent investigation of the shelling to be held,” Tutu said.


After the incident, Israel’s military said the shelling into Beit Hanoun that day was a mistake and was the result of a “rare and severe failure in the artillery fire-control system” which created “incorrect range-findings”. It said the shells had been aimed 450 metres away from the edge of town. No legal action was taken against any officer. However, it is unclear why the artillery was fired so close to a residential area that morning and why shells continued to be fired after the first one hit the Athamna house.


Full story of Tutu’s report:


The investigation helped me to remember what I have witnessed that day. I went there quickly and I saw a slaughter. Blood was on walls, houses, streets and all over the place. The smell of Israeli weapons was mixed with blood and burned flesh of children and old people. Women, men, old people and children were lamenting and weeping. Around 18 civilians were killed that day in addition to injuring many others. Those who remained alive have either lost their limps or suffered other severe injuries by the hit.


A friend of mine, M.A, has written a story and a testimony of that day. Below are some accounts of her story. To be more authenticated I have brought you a unique collection of photos from another friend, N. L. For me, it was not appropriate to let this story remain silent. I had to revive this horrific account again because so many people have not heared of it, nor informed correctly of the slaughter. It is time that people see what is really going on, how lives are destroyed, pain endured and hopefully by reading M.A.’s article, people will awaken from their slumber, empathize with those suffering and begin to learn, seek further information on this genocide and take more humanitarian steps towards resolution and ending suffering.


Additionally, the story can be seen in photo format at


Accounts and witness


“We entered the street; house number 71 has a sad story as well as all other houses in the area. It is the house of Basem Al Kafarnah. He was killed at his own doorstep while he was screaming calling for an ambulance for the injured who were thrown all over the street. Basem is a father for 5 little girls, the eldest of them is 7 years old and the mother is a bout to give birth to her 6th baby. We are not sure that when she delivers her baby she can also download her sadness and wounds on the loss of her lover, who left her alone; a prey for her pains and fears over her 6 weak children who rely on Allah and then her for support.


Basem fell down here, the shell destroyed the entrance of the house and broken the inner walls. Should you see the photo of Basem, you will surly know that he doesn’t need a shell of that size to take his life away and to bury the dreams of his children. The scene ended here, or may be it has jut began; five children who did not yet realize the true meaning of life, but gulped the bitterness of death and lived it with every tiny detail and lineament.


The next house belongs to Mrs. Ne’ma Al Athamnah. She was killed with her daughter Sana’. They both were widows and they were the only remaining hope for their orphans. Now the hope is buried with those who were buried. Nehad, Mrs. Nema’s daughter in law was also killed, and her four children were all injured and three of them are still lying in hospitals after they lost some of their limps.


Umayh, the daughter of Mrs. Ne’ma was also injured she lost a leg and the other was smashed while her hand was broken and she is undergoing treatment in Egypt. Her husband Sameer Mas’oud Al Athamnah was killed and they left behind a very lovely and cute little girl called Malak (Angel). This pretty angel was attacked by splinters on that bloody day which refused to leave her alone, but left its ugly stamp on here face. It could not go away without leaving a token on the innocent body.


Iyad the son of Mrs. Ne’ma has injuries to both his legs and he may never be able to walk again. His wife Inas is still at hospital recovering from her wounds and burns, Pray to Allah for her to overcome her nervous breakdown, as her son Ahmed has a critical injury in his head, may Allah save him.


And so and so
A severed leg here…..
A chopped hand there…..
Slivers in a head……


A group of women gathered around me each of them is trying to tell her piece of the story, which rived them all in pieces, they thrown it all at us, to bring it together.


Nisreen, Nem’a’s daughter said “My mother, Manal and Fatima Mas’oud the three of them turned to piles of burnet and torn flesh. We collected what’s left of them from the walls, doors and tree leaves, and then put them in buckets carrying their names. We recognized them from pieces of their clothes which were stuck to their burned flesh.” And that’s how they left.


The scene is not over yet ladies and gentleman and I believe it will never come to an end.


We moved to the next house, expecting new tale or tales. The stories sounded similar, but the amount of death in each story was different.
A sandy path separates the houses of the brothers Sa’d and Mas’oud Al Athamnah from that of their cousin. Nine shells fell over the house, yes nine; this is not a misprint or a slip of the pen.


Take notes please, ladies and gentlemen:


The first shell struck the house between the second and third floors and its victims were the grandmother, Fatima Al Athamnah 78, her son Mas’oud 52, his son Samir Mas’oud 23, his daughter Fatima 18 and his second wife Sabah 40. No it is not only the names and ages of those who departed, it is not a simple question, it is rather a real tragedy where blood was mixed with the burnt flesh and the crushed bones. So please don’t pass by the names simply as these people were alive one day. Yes, they were living a simple life, but the last moments of their life were catastrophic. They died in a savage way that did not befit their life style.


They didn’t leave peacefully, they screamed, and called for help, tried to escape the perfidy of the savage tool, which kept going after them until it pulled their souls away ruthlessly. It turned them into pieces and deprived them the peace of the last moments.


When the rest of the thirty residents heard the explosion of the first shell, they hurried up to the street or that sandy path if you still can remember it, yes, and there a new chapter of the tragedy was recorded. The shill hit the wall of the second floor and exploded into burning slivers to harvest the souls of all those who were in the street, escaping the death which insisted to follow them. Blazing iron polluted with radiant substances dissolved the flesh, and with it dissolved every nice memory in the heads of those who remained a live. The shell harvested the souls of Mohammed 16, Mahdi 17, and Arafat 18 the sons of Sa’d and Hayat Al Athamnah. Mrs. Hayat was standing beside us, firm as a rock while telling the story of the departure of her children.


“I saw Mahdi, his head was wide open and I could see his brain laying to his side. I called him, but received no answer, so I said, may Allah rest your soul. I then saw my son Mohammed. His body was burned out and deformed and I called him, but only silence answered me, so I said may Allah rest your soul.



I ran out from the shelling to a nearby allay, there I found my son Arafat, he was in half a body and the lower half was completely ruptured and his guts were dangling on the ground. I said Arafat, my baby, sweetheart, go with your brothers, they have all left, he pulled his head up and looked at himself then he started collecting his flesh and put in on what remained of his abdomen.



….
Yes, he was a live and looking at me. He then passed away in the hospital.


Many meanings vanished inside me….they were getting smaller and smaller, while Mrs. Hayat was telling her story. The words sadness and pain were devoid from their meaning and words like patience and faith declined in front of this indescribable lady.


She continued talking constantly …. The shelling continued… Another shell pulled out the soul of her grandson Mahmoud Majdi Al Athamnah 12. The shell stroke the balcony of the room where he was sleeping in the fourth floor. Another one broken into from the roof, they both gathered on the tiny body and the canine of death extracted him from his worm bed along with his cousin Ahmed, 10. I’m sure that the same question occurred to you, since when the soft bodies need tons of iron to harvest them!!!!!


Another shell….and another. The new victim is Manal, the wife of Ramiz Mas’oud, 26. She was killed with her two daughters, Maysa’, 9 months and Maram, 3 years, but their brother Abdullah is still at the hospital as he lost his left hand. Mrs. Hayat said “We found the head of Maram at the entrance of the path and the body was at its end”


If you are still with us, please keep going. This is the home of Mohammed Al Athamnah, the cousin of Sa’d and Mas’oud Al Athamnah. He rushed up to call for ambulances, but he had very little time to do any thing. Instead, the ambulances carried his dead body as the perfidious shells followed him, leaving behind 5 little buds, I mean kids.


Another chapter of the tragic day… Mrs. Hayat began to count the injuries, her husband and their son Abdul Mohaymen are lying at hospitals in Egypt in critical situation. They are injured in the back and nick and many slivers still inhabit their bodies. The hand of her grandson Mohammed was cut off and remained there on the ground of the horrible sandy path long before somebody took it to its final abode. Hayat said “I saw the hand of Mohammed on the floor. I recognized it from his watch, which was warped around it; it was also carrying a mobile phone and a hand bag.


~~~~~~~~~~

Source

POLITICAL TOONS OF THE WEEK // THE FINANCIAL CRISIS

All of the following ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff



LICENCE TO KILL

Licence to kill

Jewish settler fanatics continue to kill and steal from Palestinians without censure from Israel, writes Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank


Israeli security circles have warned recently that “organised Jewish terror” against Palestinians (and also against peace-oriented Jews) is on the rise and that steps must be taken to “nip that terror in the bud”.

However, Israeli officials, including Defence Minister Ehud Barak, have admitted that “confronting the settlers” is an uphill struggle, given the wide support they receive in Israeli-Jewish society and the strong political backing they enjoy from powerful government circles.

Barak also alluded to the shocking laxity shown by the Israeli justice system towards the settlers, which effectively allows them to commit acts of murder and vandalism, especially against unprotected and near helpless Palestinian villagers, with virtual impunity.

The ultimate goal of the settler terrorists is to intimidate and terrorise indigenous Palestinians into leaving their land so that more settlers can take it over. However, despite years of permanent terror and harassment, very few Palestinians if any have left their villages and land, prompting the mostly religious terrorists to intensify their attacks against Palestinians and their property.

In recent days, armed settler terrorists have stepped up acts of arson and vandalism targeting Palestinian olive groves throughout the West Bank. In the Nablus and Salfit region, settlers set fire to olive groves, destroying large swathes of the crop upon which the livelihood of numerous impoverished Palestinian families depends.

In one incident, the head of a settlement council took part in an arson attack that Palestinians contend happened in full view of Israeli army troops.

“I think there is a sort of collusion between the army and the settlers. Do you believe that the mighty Israeli army can’t control a few thugs who are terrorising Palestinian communities here?” asked Ibrahim Ahmed of Salem near Nablus.

“The world is often under the false impression that the settlers are a few unruly fanatics in an otherwise civilised society,” Ahmed continued. “The truth of the matter, however, is that the settlers are a key tool of the Israeli state and army to terrorise and torment the Palestinians. It is the state and the army that give them money, housing, weapons and protection. So it is naïve to buy the claim that the settlers are acting against the will of the Israeli state and army.”

Last week, a young Palestinian shepherd was found murdered next to a Jewish colony, also in the Nablus region. Eyewitnesses reported that they saw a white van chasing the 19-year-old man. The Israeli army denied that the boy was murdered by settlers, saying it was more likely that he was killed by unexploded ordnance left by the Israeli army.

Last month, dozens of armed Jewish settler terrorists committed a virtual pogrom at the Palestinian village of Asira Al-Qibliya south of Nablus, shooting into Palestinian homes and vandalising property. Ten Palestinians were injured, including one sustaining serious gunshot wounds. A videotape of the wild rampage showed Israeli soldiers looking on and doing virtually nothing to stop the settlers. When the “story” died down, the settlers resumed their violence and vandalism.

In recent years, settlers have resorted to stealing Palestinian olive crops in broad daylight. Settlers have also begun to bring in foreign workers to harvest Palestinian groves in the vicinity of their settlements. In doing so, settlers act on religious edits issued by local and national rabbis allowing them to steal crops in the West Bank, which the settlers call Judea and Samaria, believing that the land belongs to the Jews by a divine decree.

Until recently, rabbis issued their edicts publicly, drawing bad publicity from the press. Now, however, the edicts are issued and circulated quietly through local synagogues in the settlements.

In addition, the Israeli army seems to always find new ways to make life more difficult for Palestinian farmers. Many olive groves surrounding illegal Jewish settlements are declared closed military zones (only for non-Jews), which in effect is a green light for settlers to come and to steal Palestinian olives.

Last week, the Israeli army said it would provide “protection” to Palestinian olive-pickers from settler violence. However, the army said the duration of protection would only last three days.

The Israeli army claims it is unable to rein in terrorist settlers. This claim, however, is starkly mendacious and hypocritical. The truth is that the army lacks the will and inclination to confront the settlers.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week commented: “Military jails are packed with young Palestinians convicted of far less serious crimes than the violent acts of which the settlers are accused.” Yet generally speaking, the Israeli public is indifferent to the terror, murder and harassment wreaked by army-backed Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Now, however, settler terror is boomeranging back on Israeli-Jewish society. Last month, suspected Jewish terrorists placed a bomb at the doorstep of 73-year-old Zeev Sternhell, a political science professor at Hebrew University in West Jerusalem. Sternhell, an expert on the evolution of European fascism, was slightly injured in the incident that sent shockwaves across the Israeli political establishment and public.

Sternhell, a prominent supporter of the centre-left group “Peace Now”, warned that the attempt on his life might mark the “collapse of democracy” in Israel. However, it is unlikely that the attempted assassination of Sternhell will introduce a qualitative change into the way the Israeli army and public relate to settler terrorists. Something much more would be required to break down the institutionalised, studied racism and violence at the core of the state of Israel.

CENSORSHIP AT THE GUARDIAN … FIND THE ANTISEMITISM IF YOU CAN

Guardian Held Hostage by Islamophobic Pressure Group

In what can only be described as a shocking glimpse into Zionist lobbying at the heart of British media, the Guardian last week dismissed an Iranian contributor after a group of pro-war, Islamophobic Neocons accused her of anti-Semitism.


Soraya Terani, an Iranian mother who lives and works in London at a children’s charity, was commissioned to write 2 pieces to Comment Is Free (CIF) chronicling the routine horrors endured by Arab women whose lives have been ravaged by the US and Israeli invasion. But then, due to mounting pressure from Zionist “watchdogs” and blogs her pieces were dropped. Seemingly, Terani also posted comments on an open blog forum which, according to editor Matt Seaton, betrayed all the hallmarks of ‘anti-Semetic racist discourse’. However, on reading both her editorial contributions and comments one is struck by Terani’s sharp, eloquent political criticism that is totally devoid of any racial, ethnic or religious reference whatsoever.


Yet, Guardian Editor Seaton promptly banned Terani from CIF and sent an apologetic letter to notorious pro-war Zionist smear campaigner David Toube promising to improve the Guardian’s ‘moderation policy’ and work on curtailing anti-Semitism from leaking into the Guardian’s blog sphere.


As if it is not enough that a Guardian editor was sending an apologetic letter to Islamophobe Toube, a few days later editor Seaton took part in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle assuring its Jewish readers that he would not tolerate ‘racism’ or ‘hate speech’ in any form.


Let’s see what Editor Seaton regards as racism and hate speech. Here is one of Terani’s most offensive ‘anti-Semitic’ comments:


The republicans have killed millions across the Middle East and elsewhere to please their darling Israelis, what more are you moaning about??? What else the American-Israeli gov’t in Washington can do to please their SUPER-masters in Tel Aviv??? More killings, may be this time they are after Persian bloods??? Who knows, these gods always get what they want…mindless, selfish, arrogant lot….


Where is the anti-Semitism here? To admit that recent American wars were serving Israeli interests is nothing but telling the truth. It is hard to understand how blaming Washington for war crimes in the Middle East is an ‘anti-Jewish’ racist slur. Clearly, the issue of race or ethnicity was not mentioned once by the woman who, thanks to the Liberal media, has found her political voice temporarily struck dumb.


In another deleted comment, she said, “Star of David has been flying inside number 10 since Thatcher days”.


The Star of David has, unfortunately, been transformed into a Jewish nationalist symbol. It is depicted on Israel’s flag, airplanes and tanks. As long as Israel is dropping bombs on civilians from airplanes decorated with such a Star, any reference to the given symbol must be realized as a legitimate political criticism.


However, bearing in mind the fact that Labor’s number one fundraiser is no other than Lord “Cashpoint” Levy who is described by the The Times as “a pillar of British Judaism and a leading international Zionist,” the ties between the Star of David and Downing are clearly established.


Regrettably, due to Israel’s genocidal policies and practices, the Star of David is a reference to a murderous expansionist ideology. Yet, far more concerning is the fact that a ‘leading international Zionist’ star was financing the Labour Government at the time Britain was taken to an illegal war.


Terani, however, does not divulge the substantial list of Zionist Jews (Wolfowitz, Libby, Levy, proxy donation masters, etc.) working within the fabric of the US and British governments to champion the Israeli cause. Instead, she refers merely to ‘Republicans’, ‘Israelis’ and to a national symbol.


As people who fight for the Palestinian cause confronting Zionist racism on a daily basis, we are eager to learn from the Guardian and its editors what are Muslims and Palestinian supporters entitled to say? What is permissible? Can we not even criticize the Republican Party or the Zionist Genocidal policies? What is really left for us to do except lay down and allow ourselves to be killed by the tanks and cluster bombs decorated with the ‘Star of David’?


It has to be said, it is both frightening and amusing to witness this bastion of ‘Liberal media’ yield to a Neocon pressure group that not only supports the Iraq war, but witch hunts humanist activists. As it seems, the Guardian is happy to employ an Iranian contributor but shun her the second she fails to love Israel. Sadly, the Guardian has deteriorated into a silencing tool on behalf a devastating murderous ideology carried by a Zionist pressure group.


Mr Seaton has been contacted telephonically and by email on numerous occasions in the past two days. We would like him to justify his policy of censorship and labelling a person as one who writes material that is Anti-Semitic. We would like him to clearly analyse the writing that is quoted and to state how this can be used to smear a person and to silence her.


He has not yet gotten back to us.


Mary Rizzo is a translator, art restorer and especially Pro-Palestinian activist who runs the blog Peacepalestine. She is a founding member of Tlaxcala, a vibrant network of (proudly) radical activist translators that publishes a wide range of articles by anti-imperialist writers and thinkers from around the world in a dozen languages. Read other articles by Mary, or visit Mary’s website. Read other articles by Mary, or visit Mary’s website.

GLOBAL CENSORSHIP

OR…… BREAKING THROUGH THE GREAT (FIRE)WALL OF CHINA 😉

I received an email this morning from a reader in China. He cannot access my Blog any longer because it is on WordPress….

In his own words…. “The main reason why I suspect it’s not available in China is that all of wordpress.com is blocked here, almost certainly because that website hosts anti-China websites. China used to do that for geocities too, but recently I’ve noticed that I can get some geocities sites from here.”

We all know the censorship policies of Google and its affiliated sites such as Blogger, shutting down a site here or there, especially those pro Palestinian or anti zionist…

BUT, for a country to ban an entire Website…. that’s a bit much, don’t you think?
I searched the Web a bit to see if I can help my reader access my Blog and found the following…. SO…. if you are unfortunate enough to live in a land such as the Undemocratic Republic of China, Brazil or Turkey, read the following and try to get back into WordPress….
*****************************
The following is taken from THIS post, with thanks…

How to Access Banned WordPress.com Blogs

WordPress.com bannedAs discussed in WordPress.com Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?, continues to be a target for censorship and blocking from various countries and groups around the world attempting to penalize the whole for the “wrongs” of the few the courts or governments decide to penalize, those cutting off thousands of blogs from access.

I was also recently blocked from accessing Gmail and this WordPress.com blog from a free hotel WIFI in Chicago, which inspired me to write How Do You Know If Your Blog is Banned or Blocked? on the Blog Herald, as your blog can be blocked from anywhere at any time, not just by a country or legal decision. Bans and blocks can happen from companies, educational institutions, public WIFI access points, Internet Providers, and more.

I contacted WordPress.com support about the options and did some digging to find out how WordPress.com bloggers were getting around the blocks and what WordPress.com bloggers can do.

According to WordPress.com support, mapping your domain to a WordPress.com account will not avoid the blocks that ban by IP address. The request goes to the WordPress.com nameservers which trigger the blocks. So adding the Domain Mapping feature will not get around the bans.

However, working with client side proxy software or online web proxy servers, using web proxy browser extensions, and some other techniques allow web savvy users to bypass most of these blocks and filters not only to read the blocked blogs but access and blog on blocked blog services.

Here are some options to try to access a blocked WordPress.com blog as well as other blocked or banned sites.

Client Side Proxy Software

By installing client side proxy software, you can get get around strong firewalls like the ones in China, a technique used by many high tech companies inside and outside of China, often developed by technology experts in Chinese companies.

Client side proxy software allows a user to securely bypass content-filtering systems set up by governments and corporate networks. According to Wikipedia regarding , a popular web proxy program, it is described as:

…a censorship circumvention solution that allows users to access blocked sites in countries where the Internet is censored, [which] turns a regular home computer into a personal, encrypted server capable of retrieving and displaying web pages anywhere.

By bypassing the blocks, the web is an open door. Some popular proxy software include:

Online Web Proxy Bypass Sites

There are a variety of online web proxy bypass sites which allow free access to blocked and banned sites. They have a variety of features and abilities, and may take several tries and testing of options to access some banned and blocked sites. By using online proxy sites, the site blocks your IP address and other information, allowing your visit to the site to go through without interference.

These sites may not always allow you access to blog on a blocked blog, but they do permit reading and often commenting on most banned blogs and sites. To access a banned or blocked blog as the blog owner and contributor, enter the WordPress.com login URL.

Visit the site and enter the blocked site’s URL into the form. You can use their default proxy services or select from various options to access the blocked site.

There are many online web proxy server sites, and a few popular ones include:

Using a Peer-to-Peer Content Distribution Network

You can also get around some blocks using a peer-to-peer content distribution network, such as Coral CDN. A content distribution network (CDN) is what popular file sharing networks are based upon, server-based networks with content-delivery, request-routing, file distribution, and accounting infrastructures. By maximizing bandwidth and time savings by content replication across the servers, access is faster and cheaper through the network than by relying upon one server located thousands of miles away. A web user can also navigate through the content distribution network to hide or confuse their IP address, thus allowing access to banned or blocked sites.

Corel offers easy bypassing of some firewall and site blocks by adding .nyud.net or .nyud.net:8090 to the URL of the site. For a WordPress.com site:

http://example.wordpress.com/

would be

http://example.wordpress.com.nyud.net:8090/

To use this with my article on Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide, the link would be:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com.nyud.net:8090/2006/01/15/dyi-search-engine-optimization/

You can do this manually, or use one of the Coral Clients for Firefox, Greasemonkey, Opera, and Internet Explorer or one of the Corel browser plugins. It will work with Windows, Max, Linus, BSD, and most other operating systems.

If you are offering content specifically for readers often found behind firewalls, why not help them by adding the Coral link code to your outgoing links so they can access blocked and banned content without stress nor struggle.

Browser Extensions

There are a few browser extensions and add-ons that will help you get through various firewalls. Choose one appropriate to your web browser.

More Solutions to Bypass Firewalls and Bans

is a privacy project and program run by volunteers that works by bouncing your online communications around a distributed network of relays, similar to a content distribution network but the project is designed to block tracking and spying on your Internet activity. It protects your privacy such as blocking your physical site location and works with web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote logins and other TCP protocol access applications. By blocking information on your web traffic stats and path, Tor may help some uses bypass firewalls and blocks to access, and does protect your private information from being tracked completely, which is why many recommend the Tor Bundle, which includes Tor, TorCP and Privoxy.

You can also add an Automatic proxy configuration file to your computer and browser that will type into your browser, such as FireFox, to bypass some preventions. For information and details see:

For more information on the variety of techniques and tips for bypassing most firewall restrictions and blocks, see:

China is not the only one blocking WordPress.com, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, and many other social networking, bookmarking, and blog sites. Recent blocks include Brazil and Turkey. You can learn more on Internet censorship on Wikipedia and Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China.

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WITNESS TO THE PERSECUTION

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Or is it prosecution? Well…. seems the guilty parties are not prosecuted, so we continue to see only the persecution…

So, what am I rambling on about you ask?

Let’s start with the previous post on this Blog… MEDICAL AID DENIED TO BESIEGED GAZA STRIP ….. what does Israel expect to gain by such inhumane efforts? Is it not bad enough that Israel is literally starving to death a million and a half Palestinians in what has become the world’s largest concentration camp? The siege on Gaza has resulted in one of the world’s greatest medical crisis…. and Israel is allowing it to continue…. AND WE ARE WITNESS TO THE PERSECUTION.

We also see Israel’s refusal to deal with the crimes it commits. The United Nations will be dealing with just one aspect of this in the present General Assembly when they delve into the following…. U.N. REPORT CASTIGATES ISRAEL FOR HARASSING JOURNALISTS.
Again, WE ARE WITNESS TO THE PERSECUTION.

Such a little country with such a long list of crimes attributed to them…. how and why has the world allowed them to get away with it? If you dare criticise or condemn you are branded an anti Semite…. don’t let that happen! Speak your minds, help right the wrongs, and become A WITNESS TO JUSTICE!

I appeal to all Americans to cast their ballots very carefully in the upcoming Presidential election…. do NOT vote for any candidate that vows to continue supporting a regime guilty of such crimes.

MEDICAL AID DENIED TO BESIEGED GAZA STRIP

Delegation of Israeli doctors to Gaza denied entry

By Fadi Eyadat, Haaretz Correspondent

A task force of Israeli doctors was banned on Wednesday from entering the Gaza Strip, although their entry has been approved by Israel Defense Forces a few days ago.

The members of the organization Physicians for Human Rights were supposed to offer, over a three-day sojourn, medical services that are unavailable in the besieged territory.

“We were they only hope for 400 Palestinian patients who were supposed to receive treatment, and were fasting since yesterday because of the operation they were supposed to undergo today,” said the oncologist Dr. Abed A’baria, on his way home from the Erez Crossing.

“The army told us that we were denied entry for security reasons,” he said.
Along with the doctors, a $50,000-worth of medical equipment was also turned away.

The IDF Spokesman Office said they were looking into the matter.

The sixth and largest Physicians for Human Rights delegation to enter Gaza since Israel imposed a blockade on the Strip last year consisted of nine Israeli doctors, including orthopedists, a surgeon, an oncologist, a psychologist and a social worker.

All nine are Israeli Arabs, after the requests of Jewish doctors were immediately rejected by the IDF “on security grounds.”

“Since the blockade was imposed, the reach of international medical aid has been very limited,” A’baria continued. “Local doctors are not allowed to leave Gaza to attend conferences and further their knowledge. Some patients have been waiting for an operation for over six months.”

The head of the Occupied Territories Department at Physicians for Human Rights, Ron Yaron, said that the team intended to treat patients who were denied treatment in Israel by Shin Bet Security Services.

PLAYING PALESTINIANS OFF AGAINST EACH OTHER

Playing Palestinians off Against Each Other

Ghassan Khatib

fatah-hamas-israel.gif
Latuff on Fatah, Hamas and Israel

West Bank

In spite of their recent fierce confrontations and the continuing hostile rhetoric, there are apparently three levels of direct and indirect dealings between Israel and Hamas of Gaza. A ceasefire was reached and is still maintained, negotiations are taking place through third parties on a likely prisoners’ exchange and the two sides are exchanging views over the possible opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

The most striking aspect of Hamas-Israel relations has been the success and duration of the ceasefire. It is worth noting, that since the resumption of violent confrontations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2000, this has been the most successful ceasefire to date. Based on that, the Israeli security establishment has already drawn its conclusions about the strength of Hamas and its willingness and ability to abide by its commitments.

Palestinian fears of a possible development in the Hamas-Israel relationship are deeply rooted in the Islamic Resistance Movement’s history. The late president Yasser Arafat repeated more than once in closed circles that during peace negotiations, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had expressed regret for the earlier Israeli involvement in supporting and encouraging the creation of Hamas. Israel did this during the first intifada in order to counterbalance the growing strength and influence of the PLO.

Now, however, and judging by its behavior, Israel seems comfortable with Hamas’ control over Gaza. In addition to undermining Palestinian aspirations for independence and statehood, the split between Hamas in Gaza and Fateh in the West Bank is causing each to compete with the other over who can better prevent Palestinian violence against Israel. The split, moreover, and Hamas’ control over Gaza are reducing international pressure on Israel. Israel is thus free to continue its violations of international law, avoiding its responsibility to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, expanding and building more illegal Jewish settlements in occupied territory and maintaining its draconian and inhuman closure policies in both the West Bank and on Gaza.

Maariv, an Israeli newspaper, earlier this month published a report about a meeting between the top eight Palestinian security chiefs, most of whom are new appointees, and the Israeli army commander in the West Bank. The report revealed the extent of the security cooperation between the two sides, centered around the “common enemy”, Hamas. The two seem to be anticipating an intensification of the confrontation with Hamas, including in the West Bank next January, when President Mahmoud Abbas’ term as president ends.

The irony is that on the one hand Israel is committed to a ceasefire and is conducting prisoner exchange negotiations with Hamas while on the other hand, Israel is supporting, training and coordinating with the West Bank Palestinian security services the continuation of the internal Palestinian confrontations and divisions. This would make sense if on the political level of relations, the two sides were moving toward an agreement on ending the occupation or at least stopping the expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied territories. This is not the case.

The Israeli manipulation of the Palestinian leadership and its cooption during the Oslo process, with the consent of the international community, undermined that leadership, and led directly to the popularity of Hamas that ultimately secured its election victory in 2006. The current deepening of Israel-Hamas coordination and cooperation in Gaza and the continuing failure of the political negotiations to end the occupation will only enhance the current trends of radicalization and sustain the factors that caused the shift in the balance of power against the peace camp.

-Ghassan Khatib is coeditor of the bitterlemons family of internet publications. He is vice-president of Birzeit University and a former Palestinian Authority minister of planning. He holds a PhD in Middle East politics from the University of Durham. (Originally published in Bitterlemons.org, September 22, 2008)

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