Settlers perform Talmudic rituals outside a confiscated Palestinian family home


OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Tens of extremist Jewish settlers celebrated outside the house they recently arrogated from a Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of east Jerusalem.

Local sources told PIC correspondent that in addition to singing and dancing in circles the extremist settlers performed Talmudic rituals outside the house of al-Ghawi family, who were evicted from their house by the Israeli authorities and their house given to Jewish settlers.

The extremist settlers celebrated under the protection the Israeli occupation police and special forces who also participated in the rituals.

The sources added that the Palestinian residents of the neighbourhood responded by playing Quran tapes in their houses, cars and mosques.

The sources also said that a group of locals gathered outside the evicted family’s tent to show solidarity with the family

Amal al-Qasem, member of the Sheikh Jarrah committee said that the prayers performed by the settlers “were a challenge to our sensibilities, as Friday is a holy day for Muslims around the world. I fear that in the coming days the Zionist police which protects those settlers will bar us from leaving our homes during their prayers and festivals.”

“I hope they leave, because it was them who took over the house of al-Ghawi family. Their presence and their provocations from time to time will not lead to peace or security,” she added.

She also said that the issue of Sheikh Jarrah is a just one, the residents are refugees housed under UN supervision and the UN should do something to help stop settlers from taking over the rest of the houses in the neighbourhood.





shir l shalom...bloody The 4th of November 1995 is known as ‘The Day The Music Died’ in Israel. It was on that day that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in cold blood just minutes after singing the praises of peace, a photo of the blood stained sheet music which was taken from his pocket can be seen at left….

The words to the song can be seen

It was not only Yitzhak Rabin that was murdered that day, it was the Oslo Agreements as well. Since that time the right wing has usurped power in Israel making the concept of a real peace nothing more than a distant dream, but one that we hold onto and work towards nevertheless.

A new technology enables viewers to get a clear view of what transpired on Nov. 4th, 1995: The three bullets that changed history, the video from that evening can be viewed HERE….

A Ynet report can be read below…

Special: Video of Rabin’s murder as never seen before

(Video)Twelve years after, new technology enables viewers to get a clear view of what transpired on Nov. 4th, 1995: The three bullets that changed history


“On November 4th, 1995, the prime minister was murdered.” This was the headline we awoke to, as if to a nightmare. The three bullets fired at the prime minister during the peace rally changed the face of Israel forever. Each of us harbors that moment within us, the moment we heard of the murder at the square.

Twelve years on, the enhanced video now clearly shows the moments of the murder.

It was 9:40 pm, and the security personnel accompanied the participants of the peace rally down the back stairs of the municipality building on the way to the prime minister’s car. At first, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres descended the staircase waving to the crowd with a smile. The prime minister descended next, with an assured step.

Suddenly out of the darkness the image appeared. The door of the prime minister’s car had already been opened. Rabin approached the back seat; the first shot was sounded, then another and another.

Yitzhak Rabin’s last steps were captured by the lens of Ronny Kempler’s camera. Now, thanks to new technology, for the first time viewers can see exactly what happened at the square on that night: The unbearable ease in which the prime minister was murdered from point-blank range.




Remembering my friend Yitzhak Rabin

Written by Bill Clinton

Throughout history, human beings have found meaning in our lives through positive identification with what we know: our family, our tribe, our community, our nation, our culture, our politics, our religion – and by negative reference to “others.”

In the 21st century, as our world grows increasingly interdependent, and local challenges and opportunities relate increasingly to the groups we once knew as “them,” the walls that divide us are getting thinner, less important, and ever more transparent. We are compelled to expand the definition of who is “us,” and shrink the definition of who is “them” understand that, as important as our differences are, our common humanity matters more. The inability to embrace this fundamental value lies at the heart of peace and conflict throughout the world today, and of course in the Middle East.

Yitzhak Rabin understood this. My friend knew that the Middle East is highly interdependent, that there could be no final military victory: it would come only through peace and reconciliation based on our shared humanity. He worked tirelessly to forge a just, secure, and lasting peace with the Palestinians, and his ultimate sacrifice proved it.

While the events of the last several years have delayed the dream for which Yitzhak Rabin sacrificed his life, they in no way undermine the logic of his vision, the power of his faith, or the beauty of his gifts to us. Since his life was taken, we have seen the resolution of seemingly intractable conflicts in other regions of the world. In each instance, the parties decided that their interdependence compelled them to lay down their arms and embrace a concept of security through dialogue and cooperation, based on respect for our interesting differences, and the possibility of cooperation rooted in shared values, shared benefits, and shared responsibilities.

No one was more committed to the security of Israel than Yitzhak Rabin. No one understood better that maintaining that security requires a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians, and a commitment to share a peaceful future with them.

In this spirit, the words of the late King Hussein at Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral resound as powerfully today as they did several years ago:

“Let us not keep silent. Let our voices raise high to speak of our commitment to peace for all times to come. And let us tell those who live in darkness, who are the enemies of life and true faith, this is where we stand. This is our camp.”

We must remember and honor both Yitzhak Rabin and his mission. The future must belong not to those who live in darkness, but to those who stand with Yitzhak Rabin for life and peace.


Both of the above posts are from the archives



Plans for an election are impractical at best, argues Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

As if the stalled and nearly moribund peace process between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel didn’t face enough problems, PA President Mahmoud Abbas dropped a bombshell this week when he called for “presidential and legislative elections” to be held in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem on 24 January.

The decree is more than problematic since Abbas’s Western-backed regime in Ramallah has no control over East Jerusalem, which Israel considers part of its “eternal, united capital” and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Moreover, whatever semblance of authority the PA regime has in the West Bank is completely subject to Israeli whim. This means that if Abbas is serious about holding elections in the three separate territories on the designated date, he will have to coordinate the elections with both Israel and Hamas.

Israel has already indicated that it won’t automatically grant Abbas permission to hold elections in the West Bank and there are serious doubts that the most right-wing government in Israel’s history would allow elections to take place in East Jerusalem. Unless, of course, Israel obtains the right political price from the weak PA; in other words, an undertaking to abandon the Goldstone Report.

As to Hamas and other Palestinian factions, the reactions are ranging from total rejection to deep reservations.

Rejecting the call as a pressure tactic on Hamas to sign the Egyptian-mediated reconciliation document, Hamas leaders challenged Abbas, arguing that the PA leader’s term in office has expired and that he wouldn’t be able to organise genuine election without the Gaza Strip. “Holding elections in the West Bank alone is a definitive prescription for a national disaster,” said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas leader and spokesperson in Gaza.

Similarly, the Islamic Jihad organisation dismissed Abbas’s election decree as “an exposed attempt to perpetuate the Dayton princedom” in the West Bank. The allusion here is to the American General Keith Dayton who trains and oversees PA security forces.

Even the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is a founding member of the PLO, has shown its consternation. The group’s acting leader, Mahmoud Mallouh, has argued that regaining Palestinian national unity is more important than holding elections.

To be sure, Abbas didn’t say he was completely abandoning reconciliation efforts with Hamas. He argued though that organising elections on the designated date was a “legal and constitutional imperative.”

Hamas and many Palestinian intellectuals ridicule this argument, which gives the impression that the PA is an independent and sovereign state with an established constitution when in fact the PA regime, especially in the West Bank, is a little more than a mere sub-contractor for the Israeli occupation authorities. After all, it is the Israeli army, not the PA, that controls every street and corner of the West Bank.

It is not clear if Abbas is bluffing in order to outmanoeuvre and circumvent Hamas, or if he really means it. If the latter, the direct and indirect ramifications of holding elections in the West Bank without the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip would deeply and negatively affect the Palestinian political arena as well as American-led peace efforts.

Indeed, the outcome of an election in which less than half of eligible voters would participate is not going to have much credibility, will further exacerbate the Palestinian crisis, and may lead to an irreversible rupture between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As to the American-led efforts to resume peace talks between the PA and Israel, which have so far achieved no progress, it is amply clear that these efforts will have to be more or less frozen if Abbas is serious about holding elections. After all, continuing to indulge in a manifestly barren peace process (barren in light of the bitter experience of years of fruitless negotiations with the Olmert government) would seriously undermine Abbas’s efforts to woo the Palestinian public to elect him “president” for a second term.

More to the point, if elections are to be held on the designated date, Fatah would have to display a radical discourse and reassert its commitment to the Palestinian constants, including the two cardinal issues of Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their former homes and villages when Israel was created more than 60 years ago. It might even resort, at least as an electioneering tactic, to asserting its commitment to armed struggle against Israel.

For what it’s worth, this would have a negative impact on the peace process as it would undermine the Obama administration’s ability to realise the increasingly illusive goal of establishing a viable Palestinian state in the occupied territories.

Last week, US President Barack Obama called Abbas, assuring him that he would see to it that an independent Palestinian state is established. Obama didn’t say when such a state would see the light of day, nor did he mention anything about American efforts to get Israel to freeze Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank. Abbas would do well to remember that president George W Bush made similar undertakings which came to naught.

Obama was supposed to give a foreign policy address this week that would reveal new American ideas for making progress in the stalled Middle East peace process. It is not clear if the nonevent had anything to do with Abbas’s decision to hold elections in January.

What is clear though is that Abbas is visibly disillusioned, even to the point of despondency, as all American pledges and promises to get Israel to freeze its frantic seizure of Palestinian land are shown to be false. One Palestinian official said in confidence that the president’s mood is “very depressive”. He also described US peace efforts as the “biggest act of deception”. “If Obama with all his power can’t bring Israel to freeze the building of even one building in East Jerusalem, would it be reasonable on our part to expect him to wrest East Jerusalem from Israel, allow for the repatriation of the refugees and at the top of all of this establish a viable and territorially contiguous state for us?”

This week, the Israeli media reported that Abbas was seriously considering submitting his resignation on the grounds that he had no achievement whatsoever with which he could impress Palestinian voters during the election campaign.

The unconfirmed report alerted the Obama administration which hastened to assure Abbas that the US would take a number of unspecified measures to boost Abbas’s standing among his people.

However, the American undertaking seems to be largely rhetorical, since any achievement by Abbas would require serious Israeli concessions in the West Bank. This seems highly improbable, at least for the time being, given the composition and ideological nature of the current Israeli government.

An exit from the narrow horizons facing Abbas could take the form of a certain concession to Hamas by Fatah, probably in coordination with Egypt. But even this wouldn’t be desirable from the American viewpoint since the restoration of Palestinian unity would likely radicalise the overall Palestinian stance and make the Palestinians more determined in their demands for a total Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in 1967.

Al-Masri further argues that the conflict between Fatah and Hamas is first and foremost “political, not constitutional in nature”, which he says requires a political solution. “Failing to understand this reality could lead to national political suicide and a total capitulation to Israeli dictates. Abbas is dead wrong if he thinks that the Palestinian negotiating position vis-à- vis Israel would be better in the absence of national unity.”


Despite Israeli denials, Muslim officials on the ground confirm Jewish extremists are escalating plans to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

Palestinian youths hurl stones towards Israeli riot policemen during clashes in Jerusalem’s old city on Sunday


Government-backed Jewish religious extremists have stepped up their efforts to seize a foothold at Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem, ostensibly in order to erect there a Jewish temple.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest Islamic sanctuaries. The other two are the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet Mohamed’s Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, 25 October crack Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa site, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Muslim worshipers. The troops also savagely beat Palestinian worshipers, including women and children. The paramilitary police, known as the Border Guard, also briefly shut off the Noble Sanctuary (the 141,000-square metre court housing Islamic holy places), barring Muslims from accessing the site.

More than 20 were injured, some badly, and dozens of others arrested. The Israeli occupation authorities also cut off electricity to the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The new violation of the holy site by Israeli forces followed a call by Muslim leaders in Jerusalem alerting inhabitants to go to the mosque and maintain a presence there to repulse a fresh attempt by Jewish extremists to storm the Noble Sanctuary and seize a foothold to practise Jewish rituals. Jewish extremists, along with some government officials, hope that persistent provocations at the exclusively Islamic holy site will allow them to worship at the site and eventually build a Jewish temple.

Many Jews believe that the ancient Temple of Solomon stood where Al-Aqsa Mosque was built more than 1,300 years ago. Destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place is said by some extremists to be a condition for the second coming of Christ.

In recent days and weeks, Talmudic extremists placed a huge menorah — a Jewish religious symbol — opposite the Dome of the Rock Mosque. Other extremists erected at the same place a model of the so-called Temple of Solomon. Israeli occupation authorities made no effort to stop the manifestly provocative acts.

Meanwhile, the religious Zionist camp in Israel, which spearheads anti-Islam provocations at Al-Aqsa esplanade, held a meeting in West Jerusalem during which Jews were urged to descend to the Islamic holy place and wrest it from the hands of the “goyem” (a derogatory epithet for non-Jews). The meeting was attended by several prominent rabbis affiliated with the settler movement, as well as several Knesset members and other extremist leaders.

Following the meeting, a statement issued called on Jews to maintain a presence at the “Temple Mount” to prevent Arabs from turning the site into “a theatre of violence”. Participants urged Jews interested in “changing the status quo at the Temple Mount” to “work more and speak less” and to carry out their task “quietly and through subterfuge”.

Earlier, the Israeli media reported that Israel was planning a “major archaeological excavation under Al-Buraq Court”, renamed “the Western Wall plaza”. Historically, the place had always been part of Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967. The excavation, Muslim leaders argue, could seriously destabilise the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other nearby historic Muslim structures. Israeli officials pay little or no attention to Muslim protests and often invoke the mantra that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and undivided capital.

Adnan Al-Husseini is the head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the body overseeing and running the Haram Al-Sharif compound. He accuses Israel of “planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque by way of digging subterranean tunnels in its vicinity.”

“When they speak to the media or meet with some Muslim officials from Turkey or Egypt and Jordan, they assure them that everything is fine and that the Islamic holy site faces no danger. However, we who live here and see things with our eyes on a daily basis are sure 100 per cent that Israel’s ultimate goal is the demolition of the mosque and the building of a Jewish temple.” Al-Husseini added: “Are we to believe Israeli lies and mendacious denials or our own eyes?”

Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, another prominent Muslim official at Jerusalem’s Noble Sanctuary, described the situation as “very, very dangerous”. “The Israeli authorities are trying to desensitise Muslim public opinion in the hope that Muslims at a certain point would accept a partitioning of this Islamic holy place. But, of course, this will never ever happen.”

“They want to take over Al-Aqsa Mosque step by step as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron following the massacre of 1994.” There Israeli occupation authorities partitioned the mosque, one of the most ancient in occupied Palestine, between Jews and Muslims, giving Jews the lion’s share of the ancient structure where the patriarch Ibrahim (Abraham) is believed to be buried. (In Islam, Ibrahim, Isaac, Jacob and other Israelite prophets are also considered Muslim prophets).

Muslims never accepted the partitioning, stressing that the mosque was an Islamic site of worship for more than 1,300 years.

On Al-Aqsa, demonstrations have taken place in several Muslim countries, calling on Muslim governments to take proactive steps against Israel, including severing diplomatic ties. However, it is highly doubtful that token protests by Muslims will deter Israel and stop extremist Jewish groups from pursuing their designs against the main symbol of Islam in occupied Palestine and the Levant region.

Indeed, it is quite likely that this crisis, which is a ticking bomb, will reach a critical point. One foreign observer in Ramallah remarked that “the peace process is nearly dead even without this powder keg surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque. All I can say is that I foresee a lot of trouble and violence ahead.”


ANTI- SEMITISM in the USA is at its lowest level ever.

Survey says….. only 12 percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic views…


‘Mr. Anti-Semitism’ himself (Abe Foxman) seems pleased (even takes credit for it), but it could usher in the end of his high profile, high paying job. The very man that wants Americans (Jews in particular) to believe that an anti-Semite lurks under every bed in America will soon have to find some new songs to sing…. or else…..


Read the Reuters report below for details.

ADL Poll: Anti-Semitic Attitudes Match Lowest Level Recorded

A nationwide survey of the American people
released today by the Anti-Defamation League
(ADL) finds anti-Semitic attitudes equal
to the lowest level in all the years of
taking the pulse of the American attitudes
toward Jews. 

The survey found that 12 percent of Americans
hold anti-Semitic views, a decline from 
15 percent in 2007 and matching the lowest
figure ever recorded by ADL, in 1998.
In its 1964-benchmark survey 29 percent
of Americans were categorized as having
anti-Semitic views.

Read the rest at the source below....



The United Nations is calling on Israel to immediately stop demolishing Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem.The UN says 60,000 Palestinians may be at risk of being forcibly evicted.Israel says the houses are built without construction permits, which Palestinians say are almost impossible to obtain.

AlJazeera’s correspondent Jacky Rowland is in Sheikh Jarrah where Israeli police dismantled a tent set up by a Palestinian family already evicted by Israeli orders in August.


thats racistBy Mazin Qumsiyeh

It is not easy to remain a racist oppressor and it is getting harder to keep deflecting the critics by asking them to focus on nonexistent threats (like Iran).  The Human Rights Council accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza and the Israeli government panics and deals with it as a public relations challenge!. Israeli human rights groups challenge Israel home demolitions in Jerusalem and a UN experts’ panel names Israel as profiting from Ivory Coast blood diamonds. Heads are buried in the sand.  Israeli leaders are either foregoing trips (to Europe where they may be arrested for war crimes) or going to speak and heckled and challenged by human rights activists (e.g. Olmert’s tour of the US). Israel is being called to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Spain is fuming after Netanyahu asks the right-wing government of Italy to retain control of UNIFIL. Amnesty study shows how much Israel steals Palestinian water and deprives Palestinians of water.  And the list is endless.  Israel however has lots of money from US taxpayers and from extortion and from deluded Jewish Zionists around the world.  Zionism deploys legions of lobbyists and media/hasbara people and they are all working overtime. Some are members of the US Congress and managed to pass resolutions that violate US laws but please Israel.  One Israeli apologist heckled Jewish American Anna Baltzer and Dr Mustafa Barghouthi on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (see action alert below).  Desperate mean actions are taken in last ditch attempts maintain a costly Jewish state with racist laws.  Israeli jails are filling with human rights activists, conscientious objectors, civil resistance people and even journalists. Psy-ops (psychological warfare) are being waged by Israel to crush resistance to its colonial activities and stem the increased exposure in the era of the internet (when a video of settlers attacking olive pickers and cutting olive trees can circulate to millions in seconds).  We see more denial of entry to Internationals, petty denial of education rights to Palestinian students (see Action below) and desperate moves to hide the atrocities.  All this (much of it backfiring) is reminiscent of what happened to south Africa in the 10 years preceding the end of apartheid. Thus, we are optimistic that we are in the final stage of a multi-stage process. The boycotts, divestments, and sanctions movement is mushrooming.  More Israelis are joining the human wave demanding justice and equality and the Zionist movement has become more desperate in its fraudulent use of “anti-Semitism” and “self hating Jews” to silence the critics. Increasingly paranoid and shrieking delusions, even some life-long Zionists have started to question the direction of the movement and its increasingly ghettoized mentality.  Others remain in their racist and ultimately self-destructive ways (several homes demolished in Jerusalem and in the Negev just the past two days creating far more animosity).

Instead of taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent in a racist ideology bent on ethnic cleansing, some Palestinians fell into the trap created by the Oslo process of talking about endless negotiations and elections for a “Palestinian Authority” (PA). In my humble opinion, the PA has already outlived its usefulness (it was supposed to be interim for five years anyway and now it is 16 years).  The only elections we should be talking about are elections to the Palestinian National Council (rebuilding the PLO).  This would be critical to avoid reducing the Palestinian question to the form of the Bantustans/ghettos in the West Bank and Gaza and who rules these ghettos. It is time to reshape and reinvigorate the struggle for freedom.  And once Palestinians are free, the Jews who live here will be freed from the self-imposed chains of Zionism and racism.

Amnesty international devastating report on water usage in the West Bank is now available (PDF file):

ACTION: Fill out the form to a) thank the Daily show for interviewing Anna Baltzer and Mustafa Barghouthi and b) ask why the version broadcast was edited in a way to remove the most critical parts of what Anna said. The major issues cut out were (1) the US role in aiding Israel, (2) the lack of adequate coverage in mainstream US media, and (3) the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions (BDS) to nonviolently pressure Israel to comply with international law. Go to (make sure to choose The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as your topic). You may also want to join the forums of the daily show and post your thoughts there and also call 212-468-1700.
(the unedited version) Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show

Action: Send a letter to the Israeli military authorities by email ( or by fax (+972 3 697 6306) and let them know that you demand that they release Berlanty Azzam immediately so that she can resume and complete her last year of studies at the Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University (she is being threatened with deportation back to Gaza).

Action: Resist the visit by the racist “mayor” of occupied Jerusalem representing the apartheid regime that built 50,000 housing units in Jerusalem for illegal settlers while demolishing hundreds of Palestinian homes in the city.  November 3, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. Gates Concert Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver Campus 2344 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver.  Demonstrations and other civil resistance actions requested to highlight Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing policies.

Finally a report from the conference “United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation and Racism”

24-25 October, 2009

Bethlehem, Palestine

Seminar Declaration

Towards the unity of all forces in struggle for boycott, divestment and sanctions for Palestine

Between the 24th and the 25th of October, 2009, the Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), together with the Alternative Information Center (AIC), organized an international seminar in the city of Bethlehem, Palestine. The seminar gathered Palestinian, international and anti-colonial Israeli activists, researchers, and others interested in promoting justice for the Palestinian people. The seminar placed a special emphasis on the economic interests behind the occupation and the potential impact that the international campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) can make in promoting justices for the Palestinian people. The seminar aimed to review, develop, and document the Palestinian advocacy mechanisms locally and internationally, to determine the impact of such efforts so far, in addition to raising the level of cooperation and coordination amongst the various related actions and activities.

The conduct of the seminar coincided with the continuing unprecedented state of polarization within the Palestinian people. The severe and disastrous consequences of this internal dispute not only hamper the current political performance of the Palestinian people, but also do away with years of sacrifice, struggle and accomplishments. Now, the Israeli occupation is at a crossroads facing a potentially historic opportunity to continue its politics of separation and expansion on all fronts, marked by the intensification of political assassinations, arrests, restrictions on movement and basic freedoms, takeover of lands, and the construction of settlements. While the process of Judaization and isolation of Jerusalem is accelerating, Israel insists on continuing the settlement and expansion activities in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the daily crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip, and the politics of aggression and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

In light of the decision taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report), the United in Struggle Seminar joins in the call on Arab, Palestinian and international civil society and official institutions to take appropriate measures to bring officials from the occupying Israeli state to justice.

The participants in the United in Struggle Seminar call for the following:

1.       To immediately restore Palestinian national unity.

2.       To activate the Palestine Liberation Organization in a democratic and inclusive manner that will permit the participation of all Palestinian forces and factions based on the Cairo Agreement of 2005.

3.       To activate and construct Palestinian national frameworks that will reinforce the capacity of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation and to consolidate progressive Palestinian principals.

4.       To continue the efforts on all levels to hold the state of Israel and its leadership accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity in international courts and milieus.

5.       To consolidate and continue the efforts to end the blockade on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

6.       To firmly oppose politics and projects of normalization with Israel in the Arab world by activating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine campaign (BDS).

7.       To emphasise the 2005 invitation extended by Palestinian civil society to conscientious Israelis to support the call for BDS for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

8.       To reinforce a stronger and more efficient position in the Arab states and societies to defend Jerusalem, in addition to boycotting all political, economic and cultural activities complicit with Israeli efforts to Judaize and isolate Jerusalem.

The Seminar Organizing Committee



By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

IOF troops at Aqsa gate

So far, the Jordanian reactions to the scandalous Israeli provocations at al Masjidul Aqsa (Aqsa Mosque) have been minimal, inadequate and strikingly weak. Jordan, which signed the inauspicious Wadi Araba treaty with Israel fifteen years ago, is legally and morally responsible for the Islamic and Christian holy places in al-Quds.

However, the Jordanian state, apart from playing a symbolic role, has been effectively silent in the face of uninterrupted and unrelenting Israeli conspiracies against the Islamic sanctuary in the holy city. Israel has been carrying out far-reaching excavations in the vicinity of the Haram al Sharif esplanade which experts say are destabilizing the foundations of the structures.

A few months ago holes and pits appeared at the courtyard not far from the western entrance to the Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, the usually green olive trees in that area began to wilt, indicating that Israel was digging underneath.

Unfortunately, Jordan didn’t view these grave provocations gravely enough, which apparently encouraged Israel to go on and on and on.

And now, al Aqsa Mosque is facing a real danger stemming from the repeated attempts by Jewish fanatics to arrogate a foothold and establish so-called “prayer rights” at the exclusively Islamic sanctuary.

Needless to say, these are not marginal groups of religious maniacs that can be dismissed as constituting a small minority within the Israeli Jewish society. The opposite is true. These extremists enjoy strong backing from the Israeli government and people and have strong allies in the Israeli Knesset and even in the Israeli police and army. In fact, more than 50% of the high-ranking officers in the Israeli army have ideological affinity with these “national-Zionist” extremists.

Hence, one exaggerates little by saying that these groups represent a wide segment of the Israeli Jewish society and that they are hell-bent on either demolishing, bombing the Islamic holy places or seizing part of the Haram al Sharif for the purpose of performing their rituals.

The evil designs of these satanic terrorists can’t be repulsed by routine, meaningless and dull diplomatic protests from Amman and other Arab and Muslim capitals.

In the final analysis, the Jordanian government shouldn’t just content itself with receiving “assurances” from the Israeli government that Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo until a lasting peace is reached.

Israel is a notoriously lying state and its assurances and pledges are worth nothing.

A few years ago, an Israeli court ruling to allow Jewish fanatics to hold prayers right in the middle of the Haram al Sharif is a clarion proof, if a proof was needed, that Israel cares very little about Jordanian, Arab or Islamic concerns in this regard.

Israel claims that Jewish “visitors” had the right to visit just like other tourists from around the world who visit the Islamic site.

However, it should be amply clear that we are not merely talking about visitors but rather about saboteurs and terrorists whose aim is first and foremost to undermine the Muslim ownership of the holy site, nearly uninterrupted since the second Caliph, Omar Ibnul-Khattab, took control of the city from Byzantine Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius in 638.

Jewish Menorah overlooking the Aqsa Mosque, intended to be used in the
alleged temple

These are not unfounded allegations. Anyone interested in knowing the truth could watch the Israeli media and see Jewish leaders openly call for the destruction of the Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques. For example, on Sunday, 25 October, dozens of rabbis and Knesset members held a special conference in West Jerusalem, at a place known as Heichal Shlomo (where an alleged prototype of Solomon’s Temple is erected). During the conference, tacit, and even explicit, calls for the demolition of the Aqsa mosque were heard.

The head of an extremist group, called the Temple Mount Faithful, had the audacity to call the Islamic edifices “pagan structure that ought to be brought down.” The Israeli government does nothing to stop or even discourage these extremists and terrorists from doing what they have been doing, namely planning the demolition of the Aqsa Mosque in order to build a Jewish temple in its place.

I understand that relations between Israel and Jordan are subject to some special sensitivities pertaining to the oblique strategic balance in the region and also with Jordanian fears about the possible expulsion by Israel of Palestinians into Jordan.

However, a policy of appeasement toward Israel will seriously harm both Jordanian and Palestinian interests as well as the stature and dignity of the entire Islamic world.

In the final analysis, Jordan ought to realize that maintaining stable relations with Israel is not more important than protecting the first Qibla and third holiest Islamic shrine from satanic Zionist designs.

Jordan must also understand that vacuous statements, repeated ad nauseam, such as saying that what Israel is doing in Jerusalem will derail the peace process, a peace process that doesn’t really exist, only encourages and emboldens Israel to further ignore Muslim reactions and defy Muslim sensibilities.

Therefore, it is imperative that the Jordanian state take an uncompromising stance that would deter Israel.

In fact, one is always prompted to ask if maintaining relations with Israel doesn’t serve the paramount interests of Jordan , and other Arab and Muslim states that have relations with the Zionist regime, such as Egypt, then what is the rationale for maintaining such relations in the first place?


Israeli forces demolish tent of evicted family in Sheikh Jarrah

On Wednesday 28 October, around 50 armed police and border police cordoned off a road in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem and, as ordered by the Jerusalem Municipality, demolished a tent, where the Gawi family has been living since they were forcibly evicted from their home on 2 August 2009. The destruction occurred despite the presence of a delegation of members of the European Parliament led by the Vice President Luisa Morgantini.

Sheikh Jarrah 27 October 2

At 10.15am, the Israeli forces surrounded the tent where a member of the Gawi family was preparing breakfast holding her two year old daughter. Supported by only a few people who were present in the area at this time, she tried to gather at least some of the family’s belongings and verbally protested the violent destruction of their only shelter as the police tore the tent down and confiscated everything that was left. A few mattresses and bedding were thrown in a pile on the pavement, while the tent and other belongings were loaded on a truck. Within minutes, after the police left, the family with the help from the neighbours erected another tent, providing at least minimum shelter for them.

By the time the Israeli forces completed the demolishion, a group of about 80 activists, journalists and palestinians arrived, along with a group of UN workers and members of the European Parliament, to express solidarity witht the evicted family. The Israeli police returned and issued a warning over the loudspeaker that anyone who doesn’t leave the area within five minutes will be arrested. They then ripped down the newly erected marquee, loaded it on a truck and left the area.

Sheikh Jarrah 27 October 3

At the end the members of the Gawi family thanked friends and supporters for their solidarity and called on all human beings to stand with them in their resistance. The Gawi family, together with the Hannoun family, who are also living on the street nearby after they were evicted from their home, have vowed to continue their struggle to regain their houses from the Israeli settlers and intend to erect another tent whilst they continue to sleep opposite their home and in full sight of the illegal settlers who often abuse and harass them.


The Gawi and Hannoun families, consisting of 53 members including 20 children, have been left homeless after they were forcibly evicted from their houses on 2 August 2009. The Israeli forces surrounded the homes of the two families at 5.30am and, breaking in through the windows, forcefully dragged all residents into the street. The police also demolished the neighbourhood’s protest tent, set up by Um Kamel, following the forced eviction of her family in November 2008.

At present, all three houses are occupied by settlers and the whole area is patrolled by armed private settler security 24 hours a day. Both Hannoun and Gawi families, who have been left without suitable alternative accommodation since August, continue to protest against the unlawful eviction from the sidewalk across the street from their homes, facing regular attacks from the settlers and harassment from the police.

The Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah is home to 28 Palestinian families, all refugees from 1948, who received their houses from the UNRWA and Jordanian government in 1956. All face losing their homes in the manner of the Hannoun, Gawi and al-Kurd families.

The aim of the settlers is to turn the whole area into a new Jewish settlement and to create a Jewish continuum that will effectively cut off the Old City form the northern Palestinian neighborhoods. Implanting new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is illegal under many international laws, including Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The plight of the Gawi, al-Kurd and the Hannoun families are just a small part of Israel’s ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from East Jerusalem.






Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


Click on image to enlarge

Related Post


visit palestine

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

We see and meet the nicest people but we also see and meet the meanest people in Palestine.  Every day here is an experience in extremes.  We contrast an activist for peace in her 20s who speaks many languages with a settler who (joined by other settlers) attacks people picking their own olive trees (because he is brainwashed to believe Palestinians are not a “chosen people”). We contrast a young man getting up at 3AM to try and cross the countless hurdles to make a trek to make a living for his family with elites like Netanyahu who told members of his cabinet that “our challenge is to delegitimize the continuous attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. The most important arena where we need to act in this context is in the arena of public opinion, which is crucial in the democratic world.” We contrast the niece of Tony Blair who sacrificed so much to join and understand and sympathize with Palestinian suffering with her uncle who cares little about people and prefers to keep his VIP photo-ops tightly controlled [1].

We see a woman trying to sell a few olives which she gathered with much hard labor from a few trees after their owners had finished harvesting them (a process we call tsayyef).  We contrast that with billionaire Zionist (Russian-Israeli) tycoon sentenced in France for arms dealings worth hundreds of millions of dollars (but of course he will for now escape justice just like Sharon, Olmert, Netanyahu and Barak). Israelis who are getting rich of selling weapons and training others to kill contrast with impoverished masses of gathered Jews from around the world tricked into coming to a land that belongs to others under myths of Jewish nationhood [2]. Israel now having destroyed Palestine is merely a vehicle for elites to make billions exporting death and destruction in the Middle East and beyond while the gathered masses of Jews suffer from “what next” syndrome.  What next to distract the masses with (another war, another terror incident, another attack on AlAqsa mosque..).  Colonial settlers squat in Palestinian homes in Jerusalem while owner families are made homeless as part of the ethnic cleansing that is Israeli policy since its inception. We see Israeli soldiers and officers in smug uniforms and smiles demolishing Palestinian homes [3]. We see Israeli officers starve 1.5 million Palestinians in the largest concentration camp in history called Gaza [4]. But we also see Israeli citizens like Ezra Nawi sentenced to prison for supporting Palestinians being ethnically cleansed [5] or Shir Hever writing and speaking out about the colonial oppression that is being done in their name [6].  We see Matzpen, Zochrot, and brave Israelis like Neve Gordon and Ilan Pappe expose ethnic cleansing and racism and support the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions.  We see internationals in Palestine like Kristel who helped spawn a movement. We see Majd who helped mobilize Palestinian youth around the world.  Jamal Juma’a, Eyad Burnat, Mohammed Othman (now languishing in an Israeli jail) and hundreds more who mobilized against the apartheid wall [7].

In one day in Palestine (in 24 hours to 8 AM Oct 26): Medics obstructed and injured as Israeli troops wound and beat people defending the Al Aqsa Mosque; Israeli soldiers abduct two 15-year-olds; Zionist fanatics attack olive harvesters and set fire to olive trees; Israeli F-16s terrorize Rafah; Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in refugee camp and 5 towns and villages; 3 attacks – 19 raids – 11 beaten – 16 injured-21 taken prisoner – 17 detained – 80 restrictions of movement… [8].

Outside of Palestine, we see decent princip0led politicians like Turkish leaders call a spade a spade (saying that Israel must be held accountable for war crimes).  But we also see leaders like Husni Mubarak in Egypt collude with the occupiers in starving 1.5 million people and we see political leaders in Jordan, Egypt, and even some Gulf States hob-knob and schmooze with Israeli war criminals in elite conferences like the world economic forum. We see a large conference was held in Madrid to support Palestine.  San Francisco refused to be overshadowed by Chicago in their reception of the war criminal Ehud Olmert. Indeed they tried to arrest him! [9]. The 2009 National Campus Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Conference, taking place Nov20th – Nov 22nd at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts [10].  Anna Balzer (Jewish American) and Mustafa Barghouthi (Palestinian) will be on the daily show with Jon Stewart Wednesday 10/28 at 11 PM EST on Time Warner Cable repeats at 1:30 am EST and a few times during the day on Thursday(check local listings). [11]

We could list tens of thousands of idiotic fools going with the systems of oppression of many backgrounds (yes including some Arabs and some Palestinians).  We could list tens of thousands of brilliant activists everywhere who (had we lived in a fair world) should be political leaders.  We indeed have had a less violent and more just society precisely because the former idiotic group is challenged at every turn.  It has always been like this (think struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, think civil rights, think labor struggles etc). The real struggle we have and we have always had is clear to anyone with eyes to see.  It was said that only dead fish go with the flow.  So this is not a tribal conflict but a conflict between dead fish (or living dead as it were) that go with the flow and the living diverse population who swim against the current. What always gives us hope and energy is the beauty and diversity of the activist community seeking peace.  They are non-conformist, diverse, and do not march to anyone’s orders (except their conscience to do what is right).  Actions and the company of nice peole give us hope and energy to work for a just world. Come visit us in Palestine!

1. see Quartet envoy’s eight-year-old niece sees the real Palestine

2. Inventing Israel: Historian Shlomo Sand argues that ‘Jewish peoplehood’ is a myth “The key assumptions about Israel and the Jews are indelible. Forced from Jerusalem into exile, the Jews dispersed throughout the world, always remaining attached to their ancient homeland. Psalmists wept when they remembered Zion. A people were sustained by an unflagging determination to return to their native soil. “Next year in Jerusalem!” The triumph of Zionism—the founding of Israel—is the fulfillment of that ancient vow. The Israeli Declaration of Independence states it plainly: “Eretz Yisrael was the birthplace of the Jewish people… After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom..Now suppose that none of it is true…” At NYU, Shlomo Sand predicts the Jewish past and pastes the Zionists by Philip Weiss on October 17, 2009

3. Video:

4. See
5. see
8. Details sent in a report from a monitoring group in New Zealand.  To get on the list to receive the regular reports, write to
9. Here is the amazing video: 22 activists, including several CODEPINKers, were arrested ( )
10. Find out more and register at:
11. The video is also posted the next day at


Lest they forget…..


Shulamit Aloni slams decision not to indict Border Guard officers who abused Arabs

By Shulamit Aloni (former member and Minister in the Israeli Knesset)

On a hot summer day, two Border Guard police officers walked around the holy city of Jerusalem without any particular mission. At one point they decided that it would proper to prove their authority and respectful position to themselves and to the Palestinians. The officers proceeded to nab two Palestinians, yelled at them, and demanded that they salute “their majesties” numerous times.


Next, they made them face a wall [with their arms and legs pulled apart and got on with the task of displaying the beauty the power of Israeli police. They] pulled out a camera, in case their colleagues won’t believe them. They beat the Palestinians on their head and nape time and again, they lifted their shirts, removed their pants, continued to hit them, kicked them in the rear-end, and showed these Arabs [Arabushim (a derogatory term equivalent to “towelheads”) as the Minister in charge of the police called them] how strong they are and how loyal they are to their job as the Jewish Border Guard.

And so, these police officers continued to take pleasure in abusing, beating up, humiliating, and photographing it. They did this until they got tired, and then, satisfied and gleeful, decided to let their victims go.

Such abuse, which is accompanied by photos and glee, must not be disregarded. A representative of the victims turned to the State Prosecutor’s Office and demanded to bring the honorable Border Guard officers to justice on charges of abuse, humiliation, and assault.

Given the photographs and testimonies, these “heroes” indeed deserve to be put on trial for the offenses they committed: Misuse of authority and assault, which carry a prison term of two years or more. Moreover, there are suspicions that additional offences were committed in terms of physical and emotional abuse, as well as acts that border on sexual abuse.

Extraordinary response

Yet here we were surprised: The State Prosecutor decided not to look into the matter. The response was so impressive that it would be proper to distribute in on posters, so everyone will see and know.

According to State Prosecutor’s Office, the materials available in the case, including the videos, indeed show “improper conduct” on the part of the police officers. However, as the case in question involved very light beating that caused no real damage, prosecutors found no basis for intervention, leaving the matter to be treated by the police’s internal affairs unit.

What an extraordinary response. After all, the police officers indeed did not pluck out their victims’ eyes and did not cut off limbs; besides, after all, these victims are [only] Palestinian, and therefore it turns out that abusing and humiliating them doesn’t count. The appeal filed over the decision was also rejected by the State Prosecutor’s Office [which again recommended that the matter be referred to internal affairs department.]

What we have here then is a new method apparently: The army will probe itself and then will let us know how chaste it is. The police will probe police officers, and it will turn out everyone is righteous, and so on and so forth.

[I have recently gone over ten Bills submitted by members of the 18th Knesset. All are very patriotic being preoccupied with Zionism and Judaism and loyalty. They include a demand for a “loyalty oath to the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and Democratic state as well as its symbols and values” not to mention the flag and anthem. All these are necessary for being granted an Identify Card. Seeing that “its symbols and values” indicate that the Jews are the chosen people and ]in the face of the State Prosecutor’s decision on this matter, which is not unusual, I believe we should be amending the Basic Law: Human dignity and Liberty, and decide that the State of Israel is committed to maintaining the liberty and dignity of a person only if he’s Jewish; Just like we have land that is only for Jews and roads that are for Jews only.

By modifying the Basic Law as suggested, we will know that “dignity and liberty” in the Jewish state are only reserved for Jews.


English Source
Hebrew Source
[With thanks to Sol Salbe – of The Independent Middle East News Service – for providing a full translation – completing what was missing in Ynet English (between square brackets)]




Futility Much Anticipated With Israel’s Occupation

By Khalid Amayreh

Journalist — Occupied Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas talks during a news conference after his meeting with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak at the Presidential palace in Cairo October 20, 2009, (Reuters Photo)

In a measure that has already vexed the internal Palestinian political arena, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmud Abbas has called for “presidential and legislative elections” to be held in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank, East Al-Quds and the Gaza Strip on January 24, 2010. The decision is expected to widen and deepen the  state of contention between Fatah and Hamas, the two largest political groups in occupied Palestine.

Fatah, which have been in control of the PA security agencies connived  with Western powers and also  Israel against Hamas after the Muslim liberation group won the 2006 elections.

This prompted Hamas to oust Fatah militias from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

The cold-bloodedness between the two sides has evolved into a kind of unprecedented enmity as all Arab, especially since Egyptian efforts to reconcile the two groups have so far failed.

It is not exactly clear what prompted Abbas to embark on this feat now, especially with reconciliation efforts going nowhere and with the current Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu refusing to freeze Jewish settlement expansion despite constant American demands.

Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, has castigated the decision to hold elections without consultation or coordination with Hamas, as a “grave blunder that would have serious repercussions on the Palestinian national cause.”

For his part, Abbas sought to defend his decision, arguing that the elections were a “legal, national and constitutional imperative.”

To this, Hamas retorted that it is futile to speak  of constitutional imperatives when Israel controls every street and corner in the West Bank, and when Abbas himself, as the head of the Palestinian Authority, cannot even move from his office in Ramallah to the next street without getting Israel’s consent beforehand.

Palestinians, Hamas argued, must not get themselves accustomed to the “normality” of living under the Israeli military occupation.

Objective Facts


This means that Israel, not the PA, has the final say in all matters pertaining to elections. If Israel says “No”, Abbas obviously cannot do much. He will probably succumb to the Israeli decision, and perhaps complain to Israel’s guardian-ally, the United States.Hence, it is probably safe to say that Israel will not allow  the organization of real, fair, and transparent elections in the West Bank and East Al-Quds if the Jewish state does not receive an “appropriate price” from the weak and vulnerable PA government.

In 2006, when Israel felt that Hamas was poised to win Palestinian legislative elections, it unceremoniously rounded up hundreds of pro-Hamas candidates for PA parliament and local (municipal) councils.

In the West Bank, nearly all elected Muslim MPs were arrested and sentenced to lengthy periods of imprisonment ranging from 32 months to 48 months. Their only “crime” was their participation in elections under the umbrella of a “terrorist organization”.

On October 26, 24 MPs, including formers ministers, such Sheikh Nayef Rajoub, are still languishing in Israeli dungeons on no ground other than the fact that they earned the trust of their people in a fair election that was okayed by Israel and the United States and meticulously observed by observers from around the world.

This means that there is no guarantee whatsoever that Israel will not resort to the same draconian measures again. If so, one would really wonder if it is wise to hold elections under such conditions.

Police State Without a State

To be sure, Israel is not the only obstacle impeding the organization of fair and truly democratic elections. The PA itself is very much a police state without a state.A police state because there is a nearly total absence of the rule of law in the West Bank as human rights and civil liberties are routinely and constantly violated.

And “without a state” because the PA has no sovereignty of its own and is thoroughly subservient to Israel’s whims.

Needless to say, an atmosphere of fear now prevailing throughout the West Bank inhibits organizing truly democratic elections.

People suspected of holding “non-conformist” views, such as sympathizing with Hamas, will be dragged to jails and interrogation dungeons where they are often beaten, humiliated, and even tortured.

At least 10 pro-Hamas sympathizers have been tortured to death at the hands of PA interrogators since 2007.

In addition, thousands of people have been detained and hundreds are still languishing in PA jails without charge or trial.

The police state atmosphere is so rampant in the West Bank today that a petty act like hoisting a green Islamic flag bearing Islam’s article of faith (I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammed is His messenger) is enough to make one  land in a PA interrogation center.

Hence, it is only logical to question the plausibility, let alone wisdom of holding elections under such circumstances.

This is not to say that “elections” cannot be organized at all. They can, but it is highly likely that they would be seriously rigged in daylight, although this would not prevent the PA’s Western donors and bankrollers , such the United States and the United Kingdom, from haling the elections as “democratic and honest”.


Hard Questions

The PA leadership claims that it will respect the outcome of the elections, regardless of which party wins the polls. However, any serious observer of the Palestinian arena can hardly take this claim for granted.

Let us suppose for the sake of argument that Hamas would win the elections, even by a narrow margin. Would Fatah then cede power to the victorious party?  Would the United States and Britain and Israel’s Western allies come to terms with the results? Would Israel recognize Hamas as the true representative of the Palestinian people? Would the American-trained PA security forces agree to be answerable to the new government?

Obviously, the answer for all these crucial questions is absolutely “No”.
It is amply clear that Abbas is not intending to hold elections for the elections’ sake.

His ultimate goal is to avenge Fatah’s defeat in Gaza more than two years ago, as well as to outmaneuver Hamas into a serious  political predicament.

Ultimately, Abbas wants to get rid of Hamas as a key political player at the Palestinian arena in order to be able to give Israel all or most of the concessions it is now demanding without  facing any serious Palestinian opposition.

Abbas and his aides did try to achieve this ominous goal, namely to decapitate Hamas in 2007, in concert with US intelligence through such people as Elliot Abrams and Keith Dayton.

However, Hamas managed to outsmart them when its “Executive Force” defeated and ousted Fatah’s militias from the entire Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Fatah and Hamas differ sharply on the entire rationale behind the elections. Hamas views the elections as part of an overall program for resistance that would eventually enable the Palestinian people to wrest freedom from the Israeli occupation.

On the other hand, Fatah views the election as an opportunity to “settle scores with Hamas” and to willy-nilly re-impose the group’s erstwhile hegemony over Palestinian lives, using a variety of stick-and-carrot tactics.

Fatah is bent on remaining in “power”, a term which in the Palestinian context is devoid of any real meaning since the PA has no real power and only functions as a submissive sub-contractor for the Israeli occupation.

In light, there is no doubt that holding elections in the West Bank  under the present circumstances would seriously complicate and exacerbate the internal Palestinian crisis and might lead to an irreversible divorce between Gaza and the West Bank.

Certainly, this is not what most Palestinians want.




The following shows what they say they are……

The faces and personalities they present……

What they really are….. Taken from an earlier post

Poet booted from J Street meet for comparing Guantanamo to Auschwitz

Five days ahead of the leftist pro-Israeli lobby J Street’s first National Conference in Washington, D.C., the controversies continue to mount. The Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren refuses to attend the conference, despite the open letter issued by the organization’s Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami; but over the weekend the lobby took one more step to appease critics.The poetry session, featuring three artists – Kevin Coval, Tracy Soren and Josh Healey, scheduled as part of the “Culture as a Tool for Change” track, was canceled. Apparently, the event was nixed following a reminder by a conservative blogger that Healey, a Jewish activist and poet, compared Guantanamo prison to Auschwitz.

J-Street’s Ben-Ami issued the following explanation: “As a matter of principle, J Street respects the dissenting voice that poetry can represent in society and politics. We acknowledge that expression and language are used differently in the arts and artistic expression when compared to their use in political argumentation. Nevertheless, as J Street is critical of the use and abuse of Holocaust imagery and metaphors by politicians and pundits on the right, it would be inappropriate for us to feature poets at our Conference whose poetry has used such imagery in the past and might also be offensive to some conference participants.”


Don’t be fooled by the zionists in sheep’s clothing….. they are the same as all the others.
Don’t be a jerk!


jews against the occupation

Israeli Jews take on settlers
Mel Frykberg

AWARTA, occupied West Bank – Away from the media spotlight that focuses on the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli humanists is quietly working to break down barriers with their Palestinian neighbors.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Israel’s Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), has been used as a human shield, arrested, and beaten up several times by Israeli security forces while defending Palestinians. He has also been stoned by Palestinians who mistook him for a settler.

Every year during the Palestinian olive season in the autumn months, Palestinian farmers have been subjected to escalated violence by some of the half-million Israeli settlers who live in illegal settlements scattered all over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Much of the Palestinian farmers’ land has been expropriated by the Israeli authorities for enlargement of settlements and to establish new ones.

The Israeli government recently began laying foundations in 12 settlements for new buildings, while other construction continues in a total of 34 settlements.

Areas around the settlements have been declared closed military zones by the Israeli military.

Groups of vigilante settlers, often protected by Israeli soldiers, have set fire to swathes of Palestinian agricultural land, cut down trees, beaten up farmers and killed some of their livestock.

Israeli and international supporters of Palestinian farmers have been arrested by Israeli soldiers for allegedly breaching the closed military zones, and attacked by settlers as well.

The settler violence is part of an established “price-tag” policy in retaliation for every small settlement outpost evacuated by the Israeli army.

Ascherman and RHR have been in the forefront of fighting for justice for disadvantaged groups both within Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Each year during the olive season Ascherman leads a group of rabbinical students, and Israeli and international volunteers to accompany Palestinian farmers as they try to harvest their olives. IPS joined them as they accompanied Palestinian farmers to their olive groves in the northern West Bank villages of Awarta and Jit.

Hellela Siew, 65, an Israeli now resident in the UK, travels to Israel each year to partake in the olive harvesting.

During a previous harvest she had to be taken to the hospital after she was hit over the head with an iron bar by an Israeli security guard from one of the nearby settlements. On another occasion settlers threw stones and human excreta at her and other volunteers, while shooting into the air.

“I’m an Israeli and Israel is my country and I don’t like what the occupation is doing in my name,” Siew told IPS. “I come here because this is what I must do. I don’t fear the Palestinians, I fear the settlers. In fact I feel more comfortable with the Palestinians than I do with many Israelis.”

German-born Suzanne Moses, 80, fled the Nazis as a child after her mother perished in the Auschwitz death camp. After years as a refugee in various countries she settled in Israel as a young woman.

Moses has been volunteering on the olive groves for years. She spends back-breaking hours in the scorching sun picking olives “because I love olives,” she jokes.

“Seriously, I’m against the occupation. I don’t like the settlers and I’m actually very worried about civil war in the future. The settlers are armed, and even if there was an Israeli government willing to evacuate the settlements, the settlers won’t leave without a fight,” Moses told IPS.

Shy Halatzi, 23, is a physics and astronomy student at Tel Aviv University who served in the Israeli military. This was his third trip to the West Bank to pick olives.

“I had never been to the West Bank before apart from visiting the Dead Sea. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I wasn’t sure about safety. But I wanted to understand the Palestinians better and see their perspective. Israelis don’t really understand what is happening here from our media.

“If every violation against Palestinians was written about, it would fill a book. I feel my presence here is small compensation for what my countrymen are doing,” Halatzi told IPS.

The volunteers included some refuseniks, or young Israeli conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the Israeli military and are prepared to go to prison for this.

But despite the dedication and commitment of these volunteers the settlements continue to grow, and the settlers continue to be a law unto themselves.

IPS asked Asherman if he thought that his organization has made any difference. “Today Palestinians are able to access some of their land at times. Ten years ago this was almost impossible. The Israeli military also provides more protection from the settlers than previously.

“I’ve also noticed a change in some Israeli hawkish Labor Party supporters from the kibbutzim who used to be farmers themselves. Despite their politics they can relate to the struggles of the Palestinian farmers,” Ascherman told IPS.

“I strongly believe we are helping to break down stereotypes and build dialogue. I was blown away several years ago to find out that one of the Palestinian guys I was working with belonged to Yasser Arafat’s Presidential Guard, some of whose members have carried out serious attacks against Israelis.”

“He was equally blown away to find out that I was an Israeli rabbi. I’m not so naive as to believe that in the future he wouldn’t consider violence. However, I think he might have a new perspective should he reach that junction,” said Ascherman.



Israel rations Palestinians to trickle of water

Sheperds stand beside a cistern in the village of Umm al-Kheir, in the southern West Bank (OPT), September 2009.

Shepherds stand beside a cistern in the village of Umm al-Kheir,

in the southern West Bank (OPT), September 2009.

© Amnesty International

Children outside their homes - which are in danger of demolition - in Humsa (ex Hadidiya), Jordan Valley, July 2007.

Children outside their homes – which are in danger of demolition – in Humsa (ex Hadidiya),

Jordan Valley, July 2007.

© Amnesty International


Amnesty International has accused Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.

These unreasonably restrict the availability of water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and prevent the Palestinians developing an effective water infrastructure there.

“Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies. In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the OPT.

In a new extensive report, Amnesty International revealed the extent to which Israel’s discriminatory water policies and practices are denying Palestinians their right to access to water.

Israel uses more than 80 per cent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the OPT, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.

The Mountain Aquifer is the only source for water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but only one of several for Israel, which also takes for itself all the water available from the Jordan River.

While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 litres a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 litres per day, four times as much.

In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.

Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater.

In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.

Numbering about 450,000, the settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.

In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.

Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached crisis point.

To cope with water shortages and lack of network supplies many Palestinians have to purchase water, of often dubious quality, from mobile water tankers at a much higher price.

Others resort to water-saving measures which are detrimental to their and their families’ health and which hinder socio-economic development.

“Over more than 40 years of occupation, restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians’ access to water have prevented the development of water infrastructure and facilities in the OPT, consequently denying hundreds of thousand of Palestinians the right to live a normal life, to have adequate food, housing, or health, and to economic development,” said Donatella Rovera.

Israel has appropriated large areas of the water-rich Palestinian land it occupies and barred Palestinians from accessing them.

It has also imposed a complex system of permits which the Palestinians must obtain from the Israeli army and other authorities in order to carry out water-related projects in the OPT. Applications for such permits are often rejected or subject to long delays.

Restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of people and goods in the OPT further compound the difficulties Palestinians face when trying to carry out water and sanitation projects, or even just to distribute small quantities of water.

Water tankers are forced to take long detours to avoid Israeli military checkpoints and roads which are out of bounds to Palestinians, resulting in steep increases in the price of water.

In rural areas, Palestinian villagers are continuously struggling to find enough water for their basic needs, as the Israeli army often destroys their rainwater harvesting cisterns and confiscates their water tankers.

In comparison, irrigation sprinklers water the fields in the midday sun in nearby Israeli settlements, where much water is wasted as it evaporates before even reaching the ground.

In some Palestinian villages, because their access to water has been so severely restricted, farmers are unable to cultivate the land, or even to grow small amounts of food for their personal consumption or for animal fodder, and have thus been forced to reduce the size of their herds.

“Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford,” said Donatella Rovera.

“Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water, and take responsibility for addressing the problems it created by allowing Palestinians a fair share of the shared water resources.”

Source (Click to watch video)





Ehren Watada: Free at Last

By Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith


On June 7, 2006, a 28-year-old Army lieutenant named Ehren Watada released a video press statement announcing that he was refusing to deploy to Iraq because the Iraq War was illegal and his “participation would make me party to war crimes.” After three years of trying to convict him by court martial, the Army has finally given up and allowed Lt. Watada to resign. Despite his direct refusal of an order to deploy, Watada did not spend a single day in jail.

Watada’s Story

A former Eagle Scout with a degree in finance, Watada volunteered for military service after 9/11. His motives could hardly have been more patriotic. For himself and his fellow soldiers, he said, “the reason why we all joined the military” and “the commitment we made to this country” is “to sacrifice everything–sacrifice our lives, our freedom–to ensure that all Americans live in a country where we have true democracy.”

When he learned that he would be shipped to Iraq, Lt. Watada began to read everything he could find about the war, on all sides, so that he could better motivate the troops under his command. One of the books he read was James Bamford’s A Pretext for War. In a film made about his story, In the Name of Democracy, Watada described shock at what he learned: “Our country, and we as a military, had been deceived. There’s no other way of putting it. Whether they misrepresented the truth, or they told half-truths or misled–it’s a lie.” The Iraq War was “a war not out of self-defense but by choice.”

Watada is not a pacifist, and he based his stand not just on the falsehood of the justifications for the war but on the usurpation of legitimate constitutional authority by the officials in the George W. Bush administration.

“There came a time when I saw people with power, and they held that power absolute and they did not listen to the will of the people,” he says in In the Name of Democracy. “That was the leadership of our country. Those were the people who were in charge of our lives, and yet they did what they wanted to do with impunity, and nobody was willing to stand up and challenge them.”

Watada offered to resign or to be deployed to Afghanistan; the Army refused. He felt bound by his military oath to do what his conscience abhorred. Then he had an epiphany: his military oath actually required him to refuse orders he believed were illegal, and his loyalty was owed to the Constitution, not to the officials who were perverting it.

“I believe the only real God-given right we have is the freedom to choose,” Watada says. “And when we take that away from ourselves, then we put ourselves in an invisible prison that nobody else imposes on us except for ourselves. When you tell yourself again that you do have a choice–I could go to prison for it, I could be tortured, I could die for it, but I have that choice and I can make it–then that invisible prison kind of lifts off, and you feel free. I felt so free when I told myself that I have a choice.”

On June 7, 2006, Watada issued a statement announcing his refusal to deploy: “It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law. Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order.”

Crucial to his argument was the unconstitutionality of the decision to go to war. “We had people within our country with tremendous amounts of power who were doing whatever they felt they wanted to,” Watada explained. “There were no checks and balances like our Constitution espouses.”

His disobedience was also his duty under international law: The UN Charter and the Nuremberg principles “bar wars of aggression.” As treaties, they are US law as well.

Watada was aware that imprisonment was the likeliest consequence of his action. But he planned to put the war on trial in the process: “I will try to argue the legal merits of the war: that it is illegal, that it is immoral and that officers and soldiers of conscience should not be forced to do something that is illegal and immoral.”

The Army charged Lt. Watada with failure to deploy to Iraq with his unit and began court martial proceedings. There began the torturous process that ended with Watada’s recent victory–a process that echoes the old saying, “Military justice is to justice as military music is to music.”

Watada and his supporters prepared to put the war on trial. But Military Judge Lt. Col. John Head refused to allow Watada’s motivation for refusing the order–the war’s illegality–even to be considered. Judge Head maintained that when Watada stipulated that he had disobeyed an order, he was actually confessing guilt, making any defense irrelevant.

The court tied itself in knots trying to maintain the paradox that a soldier has a duty to disobey illegal orders while Watada could not argue that the order he disobeyed was not a lawful order.

When the judge called for the prosecution and defense lawyers to request a mistrial on the grounds that Watada must have misunderstood his own statement, both sides told Judge Head that they disagreed with him. At that point the judge virtually instructed the lawyer for the prosecution to ask for a mistrial, which he immediately granted.

Judge Head proposed to retry Watada on the same charges. But, as Watada’s lawyer Eric Seitz said in a press conference after the court martial, since both prosecution and defense had presented their full cases, that would be an obvious breach of the Constitution’s safeguard against double jeopardy–trying anyone twice on the same charges. The Army, Seitz said, should realize that “this case is a hopeless mess.”

Three military courts rejected Watada’s double jeopardy claim; but as soon as the case was appealed to a civilian court, US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued a stay blocking the retrial and charging that “the military judge likely abused his discretion.” The Army announced it would appeal but then did nothing for eighteen months, leaving Watada in limbo. Finally, after a campaign by Watada’s supporters, the Obama administration’s Department of Justice nixed the Army’s appeal. The Army threatened to court martial Watada on other charges but finally decided to accept defeat.

Deeper Questions Remain

Ehren Watada is now free to go on with civilian life. But as the Obama administration goes into arrears on its pledges to withdraw from Iraq, plunges further into quagmires in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and threatens to escalate conflict with Iran, the questions Watada’s action posed continue to haunt us. Here are a few:

Is there a right and obligation to resist?

Watada raised the fundamental question of whether authority–in the military or in society more generally–is something to be blindly accepted, or something to be subject to rational moral and legal examination. He asserted that “the American soldier must rise above the socialization that tells them authority should always be obeyed without question. Rank should be respected but never blindly followed.”

Gen. Peter Pace, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in 2006, “Should people in the US military disobey orders they believe are illegal?” He answered, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.” If so, what are the implications for soldiers, for the military and for the rest of us?

Should the military hear claims that orders are illegal?

Watada stated, “I understand that under military law, those in the military are allowed to refuse and in fact have the right to refuse unlawful orders–a duty to refuse. In a court of law they should be given the opportunity to bring evidence and witnesses to their defense on how that order was unlawful. In this case I will not be, and that is a travesty of justice.”

Should the law recognize selective objectors?

The Selective Service Act provides conscientious objector status to those who oppose all wars on grounds of moral conscience. But it takes the position that objectors can’t pick and choose their wars. Yet today there are strong moral grounds to oppose many, if not most, of the wars that occur, even for those who might admit in principle that some wars might be justified. Amnesty International takes the position that there is a right to such “selective objection” and that those who are punished for refusing to participate in a war they consider immoral are “prisoners of conscience.”

Watada recognized that “in opposition to my position, the argument will be made that soldiers don’t have a right to pick and choose their wars.” But, he maintained, “I would respond that it is not only our right but our constitutional and moral duty.” Is it time to recognize conscientious objectors to particular wars?

How can illegal wars of aggression be prevented?

There is currently a broad debate on torture in policy circles, the public and to some degree in the courts. But torture is only one war crime, and it’s not the most severe. Yet there is virtually no effort to question or establish accountability for the most important war crime by the United States in Iraq: illegal pre-emptive war.

As Watada said, “I think the greatest crime that the leaders of a country could commit–the leadership of a country–would be to take their people, their country, into war, based upon false pretenses.”

In a statement that won him an additional charge from the Army, Watada told a Veterans for Peace convention, “To stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.” Is such action disloyalty, or a much-needed addition to our system of checks and balances?

The Army vented its own frustration at its failure to convict Watada by insisting that his resignation was “under other than honorable conditions.”

Lt. Ehren Watada honorably sacrificed much and risked more “to make sure that all Americans live in a country where we have true democracy.” The Army should honor him as a military hero.

Source via Uruknet


What do you mean, you’re QUITTING????? Who’s supposed to buy me my Duty Free Ahava products if Fatah doesn’t send you abroad???


israel's rising star
Avigdor Lieberman is truly making a name for himself. He is probably the most hated Israeli politician since kahane. In just one day, he has aroused both local and international figures with his shenanigans….

The first instance comes from the Turkish Prime Minister who claims that Lieberman threatened to nuke Gaza . Now, that’s a pretty serious charge…

Relations between Turkey and Israel froze last week when the Turkish Government refused to take off the air a television drama that depicts Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian children.

Now, this new revelation about Lieberman…. makes one wonder what else the Turks have been keeping quiet about.

The second instance comes locally, from a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Ahmed Tibi. He branded  Lieberman’s party ‘fascist’ over Nakba bill.

Tibi  lashed out at Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party over its sponsorship of a bill that would outlaw state funding for the commemoration of Israel’s establishment as a catastrophe or “Nakba” for Palestinians.

Much of what goes on in Israel is ignored by the International Press or completely overlooked by those governments that support Israel blindly. The above two incidents will get coverage most likely, but the day to day atrocities carried out by the Israelis against the Palestinians will continue to be ignored.
In the meantime, can we hope that the third strike against Lieberman will ‘strike him out’?



Image by Arzeh

The timing seems too coincidental for the ‘riots’ around the AlAqsa Mosque to be the fault of the Palestinians. The ‘Second Intifada’ started nine years ago, almost to the day, when Palestinians were provoked by a visit by Ariel Sharon to the same area. Again, the Palestinians have been pushed too far to remain silent…. it is not only their nationhood that is at stake this time, it’s their very lives. Israel has chosen this period to finally proceed with their plan of ridding the land of every Palestinian and any trace that they ever even existed.

Those nations that voted against the Goldstone Commission Report last week literally gave Israel the ‘Carte Blanche’ to carry out the ‘final solution’ against Palestine which has been on their agenda for the past 61 years. Israel has seized this opportunity by attempting to provoke a ‘third intifada’, thereby being able to show the world that the Goldstone Report was total rubbish and offer proof that the Palestinians are the ones that are once again attempting to destroy everything that is sacred to Israel.

Sound outrageous? Let’s look at the situation….. with excerpts from various press reports…..

Describing the situation to Al Jazeera, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said: “Israeli forces entered the compound from the Maghareba and Silsila gates.“The forces cordoned off the compound, preventing all Muslims from entering the mosque.

“The situation is extremely serious, and I expect it to escalate.

“The Israelis have beaten the mosque’s guards and staff, as well as worshippers, including women.

“I was personally prevented from entering the mosque. They are preventing us by force from reaching the mosque, where Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, head of the endowments council, several endowments department staff and a number of worshippers are at present under siege. (from)

Muhammad Al-Hawash of the Palestine Red Crescent Society told Ma’an that the ambulance service received a call around 8am informing medics that six Palestinians had been injured when Israeli forces stormed the mosque area and required emergency treatment. When medics arrived outside the compound, Al-Hawash said, Israeli forces refused them access to the injured until about 11:30am, when 22 wounded Palestinians were finally evacuated. (from)

Some background information is offered here, via

Al-Aqsa Mosque Worshippers Assaulted by Israeli Military Forces

Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian youths erupted a new at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, after a while more police and special Israeli forces deployed to the compound.

Witnesses said Israeli forces fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets in the vicinity of the compound, while Palestinian youths were seen throwing stones and setting tires ablaze with electrical wires near the Old City’s Al-Majlis Gate.

Hatim Abdul-Qadir, the former Palestinian Authority minister of Jerusalem affairs, said several worshippers were hurt as police officers raided the area, and that others suffered inhalation injuries from the tear gas.

According to Abdul-Qadir, 10 Palestinians were injured and more than 15 were detained. Israeli police reported that three officers were injured. One was evacuated to a hospital, an official said.

Israeli police helicopters were seen flying over the Old City and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Confrontations also erupted outside the compound, where Israeli police clashed with students from Dar Al-Aytam school in the Old City after they marched through the streets chanting “Allah Akbar.” One was detained.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, accused Israel of trying to take control of the compound. He called on Arab and Islamic countries to unite to counter “[Benjamin] Netanyahu’s aggressive policies.”

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, warned that the situation could escalate. He told Al-Jazeera that Israeli forces assaulted worshipers indiscriminately, including women and mosque guards. Police were attempting to break into the mosque building and the Dome of the Rock, Hussein added.

But Israeli police denied that their forces had entered the mosque, itself, although several were seen outside carrying ladders and crowbars. Police cut power to the mosque’s loudspeakers after they were used to urge Palestinians in Jerusalem to gather near the compound in solidarity with its besieged worshipers.

According to Israeli media, the area was locked down after young men poured oil to make police officers slip in the event they raided the compound. Those reports mentioned the use of stun grenades and pressurized water hoses, but not tear gas.

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported that youths hurled stones at Israeli forces, who subsequently stormed the compound. The newspaper also said one Molotov was tossed, causing no injuries. The same report added that about a dozen Palestinians were holed up in the compound’s mosque, and that they were the only ones remaining after the area was closed to Muslims.

Israeli forces did not, however, close the area to Jews. According to the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, “Jewish prayer at the holy site is continuing as usual.”

On Saturday evening, Muslim officials and institutions called on worshipers to prevent the entry of right-wing Israeli groups and individuals who had announced their intention to enter the area under armed guard.

The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli newspaper, reported that a religious group calling itself “Eretz Israel Shelanu” had urged its followers “to properly arise to the Temple Mount.” The visit was thought to be in commemoration of a visit by the Maimonides 843 years ago, the newspaper added, noting that a number of Israeli lawmakers and rabbis were among those expected to participate.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque sits atop what Israelis and many Jews refer to as the Temple Mount, where the Jewish First and Second Temples were thought to have stood. The location is especially sensitive because some religious extremists seek the mosque’s demolition in order to construct a “Third Temple.”

Believed by Muslims to be the location where Muhammad ascended to heaven, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam. The compound, with its golden Dome of the Rock, is also a focal point of Palestinian national pride.

The mosque has periodically come under attack by extremists from all religious backgrounds, but most notably in 1969 when an Australian set it ablaze in an attempt to herald the second coming of Christ.

Still sound outrageous? Let’s look at some recent events, not in Gaza, but right here in Occupied East Jerusalem….
Scores of Palestinian families have been illegally evicted (sanctioned by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court) to make room for Jewish settlers.

During the Holy month of Ramadan, access to the AlAqsa Mosque was denied to Muslim worshipers.

These few incidents resulted in protests from the Palestinian community as well as Israeli Jews opposed to the occupation. These protests are a blemish on the face of ‘the only Democracy in the Middle East’…. how dare they protest! How dare they try to bring international awareness to the situation??

How does Israel deal with this? By virtually cordoning off areas and denying access to both the Israeli and International Press. Negative reports about Israeli atrocities can only damage the image they wish the world to see.

But, the reality remains…..

Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian Human Rights activist, wrote today: The intensified Israeli assault on the AlAqsa compound and the whole of the Holy City of AlQuds/Jerusalem in a final push to Judaicize the city and erase Arab Christian and Muslim heritage.  Home demolitions, denial of basic rights of residence, denial of rights of worship and movement, and outright military assaults on the “city of peace” belie a culture of impunity and disregard for International law that has been allowed to grow.  Leaders of Western, Arab, and Islamic world meanwhile oscillate between outright facilitation of the atrocities to collaboration to indifference (and I am not sure those are distinct or meaningful categories).  Many of us began to think that should Israel destroy the holy sites and build a Jewish temple in its place, we would see merely a few more declarations and statements.

The ramification of the Goldtone report and growing calls not only to hold Israeli leaders accountable for specific acts that amount to war cries and crimes against humanity (e.g. in Gaza) but to clearly identify Israel as the racist, colonial state at its core (from which emanates all these atrocities that include ethnic cleansing).

So, bottom line is to present to the world an image of a violent, terrorist oriented nation (Palestine) whose sole agenda is to destroy the State of Israel….. when in reality, it is the exact opposite that is the truth.

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