Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


We waited for too long in the hope that Zionist Jews would live and let live. However, to our chagrin, we discovered that they didn’t really want peace, and that they wanted only our  land.

Image by Dees
Zionism must go

By Khalid Amayreh


Day after day, Israel is proving to all and sundry that it is more of a malignant tumor whose ultimate goal is to kill, replace, destroy and liquidate than of a normal human entity wanting to live and let live.

Hence, the question that Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general ought to  ask themselves  and  answer is whether they would be willing to live with a cancerous entity in their midst, an entity that says openly that its ultimate goal is nothing short of the  total destruction of Palestine and Islam.

An entity that never stops  inciting the West to wage total  war  on Muslims, a country that uses one controversial  holocaust to inflict (and justify)  another on innocent Palestinians, a regime that abuses and misuses the “Chosen people concept” to torment, savage and discriminate against non-Jews.

A few days ago, I listened carefully to the elderly leader of Shas, the so-called Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was barking like a mad dog, braying like a mischievous donkey, claiming that his Bible and Talmud taught him that all non-Jews under the sun were created like beasts of burden to serve Jews.

I contrasted Yosef’s remarks against Chabad’s religious dogma that non-Jews are not bona fide human beings and compared the remarks further with Abraham Kook’s assertion that the difference between Jews and goyem was greater and deeper than the difference between humans and beasts and concluded that we are talking about nothing less than a new breed of Nazi-like supremacists who would want to enslaves and subjugate the rest of humanity.

Ovadia Yosef is not an anecdotal or marginal figure in Israel.  He is a prominent Torah sage, as described by many Jewish intellectuals and commentators.  He enjoys the loyalty and allegiance of millions of hardi Orthodox Jews in Israel and in his hands he holds the key to the survival or collapse of the current Israeli government.

Israel keeps claiming before a hopelessly-sheepish western world that it wants peace. In the meantime, Israelis, soldiers, settlers, hardeim, judges, courts, everyone, are behaving like Nazis would, each in his own way.

The government is busy legislating fascism, otherwise known as loyalty oaths. The courts are busy promulgating laws giving legitimacy to manifestly Nazi-like Jewish groups, pounding on Arab doors in Um Elfahm and shouting “you must leave, you must leave, and Kahana is coming back. Kahana is coming back!!

For those who don’t understand what “Kahana is coming back” signifies, let us give them an analogy: it is like having neo-Nazi thugs or KKK henchmen pound on Jewish doors, in a Jewish neighborhood, shouting Hitler is coming back! Hitler is coming back!!! And no eyebrows are raised, neither in government, nor among the police, not even among the intelligentsia.

The soldiers are playing the game of chance, shooting on poor and helpless Arab workers, claiming that their weapons misfired, or that they thought that their lives were at risk!!! My God! Why do these weapons misfire only when the victims are Arabs?

As to the rabbis, or most of them, they are busy explaining to their gleeful disciples that having fornication or extra-marital sex with a Christian woman, or any other non-Jewish woman, doesn’t constitute adultery because the woman in this case is not a real human being. It is rather a sin of bestiality for non-Jews are not viewed by the Jewish religious law as real human beings but rather as animals in a human shape.

As to the settlers, the real rulers of  Israel  today, they are busy devising the destruction of Palestinian olive groves and stealing olive crops in daytime hours  while setting mosques and churches on fire at night in implementation of rabbinic edicts or the  so-called “price-tag policy.”

So, everyone, the government, the army, the courts, the settlers, the synagogues, and the Knesset are busy promoting one grand Nazi-like regime similar to the German Third Reich.  And when Palestinians cry out for justice or for help, or when writers or critics warn of the catastrophic consequences of looming  fascism, the shipyard dogs from Sydney to California start barking uncontrollably, shouting anti-Semitism! Holocaust! Auschwitz ! Bergen Belsen ! Terror ! Suicide Bombings! And the sheepish multitudes in Europe and North America just shut up in disbelief, fearing the backlash of challenging Zionism.

I am not being phobic or hysterical about Israel. Just try to watch, let alone attend a Knesset or cabinet  session in Israel today, and you will have the impression that you are   going back in time and attending a Nazi cabinet  session presided by Adolph Hitler, not a Jewish cabinet session headed by Benyamin Netanyahu.

I am making these analogies because Israel today is in the throes of Nazi-like seizure that is morphing the Zionist state into a Judeo-Nazi fiefdom that can inflict havoc on its subjects and victims.

In fact,  readers who might suspect the veracity or accuracy of my remarks are urged to  review statements by some Israeli officials, including government ministers, who are openly warning that Israel is already a fascist state par excellence.

The “goyem-are-donkeys analogy,” the theological mantra that the lives of non-Jews in general have no sanctity, the claim that all non-Jewish property belong to the Jews and other similar nefarious teachings being taught in some synagogues and yeshivot or religious schools  in Israel  and the occupied territories are portents for things to come.

We saw the same trends in Germany in the early 1930s. We all know the rest of the story.

Unfortunately, we can’t count on North America and Europe to rein-in Zionist madness and arrogance of power. These obsequious westerners are themselves fettered and  shackled by a Zionist stranglehold unprecedented in its viciousness. Hence, the most they would or could do is to make some lukewarm statements expressing displeasure at whatever might befall the helpless Palestinians.

Does anyone really expect the whoring political establishments in Washington D.C. , Ottawa , Berlin , and Rome to stand for justice in Hebron , Nablus , Um Elfahm, and East Jerusalem ? Whores are whores and it doesn’t matter if one sells one’s body or  one’s conscience to the highest bidder!!!

Israel would claim, mendaciously of course, that the so-called Palestinian Authority or PA is responsible for the Palestinian plight. Well the PA is nothing more than a disgraceful slave to the Israeli security apparatus, it is a Palestinian Judenrat in the service of Israeli interests, and blaming it for the situation facing the Palestinians is like blaming the infamous Jewish Councils  under the Nazis occupation authorities for the holocaust.

Now we have reached the moment of truth. It is simply too late for peace, any peace, with Israel.  And Israel would never grant us equal citizenship. So, it is either perpetual enslavement as water carrier and wood hewers in the service of the “the master race” or “Chosen people”, or preparing hundreds of millions of Muslims for the strategic task of getting rid of the dog.

We must keep this grand goal  in mind and stop paying any attention to the babblings and hallucinations being spewed by bankrupt Arab officials about the so-called “peace process” or, indeed, the pornographic lies that we keep hearing  from American and European leaders.

In the final analysis, these leaders don’t know what they are talking about or are willing Zionist puppets, or both.

To conclude, we must admit that we have lost the battle for Palestine for the time being. It is now imperative upon every Muslim man, woman and child to prepare for the long struggle with Zionism, which must never end without the final defeat of these Judeo Nazis who seek the destruction or humiliation of hundreds of millions of Arabs, Turks, Iranians and other Muslims. This struggle is going to take many, many years, and there will be ups and downs, but it must end with the dismantlement and collapse of this deformed entity called Israel. Victims there will be many, and setbacks as well. But we must get rid of the dog, the sooner the better. Otherwise, the dog will get rid of us in what is going to be an existential confrontation between truth and falsehood.

We waited for too long in the hope that Zionist Jews would live and let live. However, to our chagrin, we discovered that they didn’t really want peace, and that they wanted only our  land.

As to dignified Jews who want to live and let live, we shall treat them like brothers and sisters. But they would have to purge the word “Zionism,” not only from their lexicons but from their minds and hearts as well.


The last month has seen growing public debate over the shambles of the Afghan war. The much-heralded counter-insurgency is failing and the Obama administration and its allies are killing more civilians than ever before. Winning hearts and minds, indeed. At such times, unembedded journalism and thinking is essential.


Compiled by Antony Loewenstein


In other news:

Opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on Israel’s inherent racism and the West’s responsibility to act accordingly (and Zionist response in the paper the following day).


Al Jazeera English’s Listening Post asked me to comment on the recent Wikileaks revelations about war crimes in Iraq.


Exclusive report in Australian magazine Crikey on Australian troops working with the US on assassination squads in Afghanistan and beyond (and the furious establishment’s response). Sydney University Law Professor Ben Saul comments.


Investigation in Australian magazine Crikey on local unions embracing boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, an interview with union leader Paul Howes and Israel/Palestine.


Appearance on ABC TV News24 talking about Afghanistan, 9/11 and drugs policy.

– Investigation with journalist Paul Farrell in Australian magazine Crikey on the lack of accountability of detention centre company Serco (part 1 and part 2).


Responses to the recent Independent Australian Jewish Voices ad in Australia and Zionist attack on pushing for BDS and one-state solution.


ABC Online investigation into the Western media’s seduction by the regime in Sri Lanka.


Appearance on ABC TV News24 discussiong gay marriage, asylum seekers and internet policy.


Sydney 2SER Radio interview about the proposed $60 billion arms sale from the US to Saudi Arabia.


– During my recent visit to the Ubud Writers Festival in Bali, Indonesia, I interviewed well-known Australian author Christos Tsiolkas.


Interview on British website Counterfire about Israel/Palestine.


Interview on independent Australian radio program The Wire about suicides in immigration detention and the role of multinational Serco.


Extract of a recent interview I conducted with leading US Jewish writer Norman Finkelstein talking about the two-state solution.


Review of the extraordinary new film by director Julian Schnabel, Miral, that tells the Palestinian story from the 1948 Nakba onwards.


Article in literary journal Overland on flailing US policy in the Middle East.




Antony’s Blog is worth logging into daily…. You can find it HERE





The calm strength of a Palestinian woman


Umm Khaled, at first glance, is a Palestinian woman like many others: black clothing drapes over her body and head, her face marked by the years making her look older than she probably is. Yet this woman, who according to Western stereotypes should be ignorant and submissive in an oppressive patriarchal society, possesses an uncommon strength, a strength that only those who have known suffering, yet face difficulties with their heads held high, possess. 

We met her in Jeb al Theeb during a meeting we scheduled with the residents of the village in order to introduce ourselves and explain our month-long project offering accompaniment during the olive harvest in this area under threat by the illegal Israeli settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim, home to Israeli FM Lieberman. The turnout for the meeting was less than expected, despite our best efforts (including distributing a flyer translated into Arabic by our local coordinator), due to the sudden death and funeral for a woman from the village. There were just a dozen adults, surrounded by the ever-present children.



As our coordinator began speaking with those present, even without the occasional translations between questions and answers it was clear to all of us that these people, after years of harassment and vile attacks, were understandably afraid. However, one woman, who had just minutes before underlined the very real risks she and her family face, decided to attempt to access her land with. This woman is Umm Khaled, and in the light of the kerosene lamp (Jeb al Theeb is denied electricity by Israel) her face sums up the modern history of Palestine: the pain of abuses suffered unjustly, the hope of living one day a life of dignity and the awareness of the need to continue to resist. Arrangements were made to meet at 7:30 the following morning.

At 7:00am we begin to climb the hill that separates us from Jeb al Theeb, and as the village came into view we saw Umm Khaled waiting to greet us. She offered us an abundant breakfast, followed by a visit to the tiny village preschool and then we started out toward the olive trees. Trailing behind us was an elderly man who had been brutally attacked by the settlers two years ago. He did not speak, but his smile indicated his approval of our presence. Along the short walk to Umm Khaled’s olive trees, the scene is dominated by the Israeli fertilizer plant built next to the village, together with its stench. A shame, for if it weren’t for the plant and the settlements the view on this autumn day would be breathtaking. 

As we reached the olive trees, our worst suspicions were confirmed: the settlers, after having denied her access to her own land, had stolen most of Umm Khaled’s olives. Not to be discouraged, we set about our work and after a couple of hours we had almost finished harvesting the few remaining olives, approximately 15 kg. Just then a settler, who had by now become a loathsome yet familiar face, arrived on the scene with his white pick-up truck, observing us from a distance, his machine gun slung over his shoulder. After a few minutes, as we continued to pick olives, he pulled out his phone and called a certain Ariel. At this point, mindful of previous experiences, we expected the arrival of IDF soldiers, who fortunately did not appear.



As the harvest was nearly complete, we began to make our way back to the village. The settler followed slowly behind us in his truck in a clear act of intimidation, while his accomplice, who had arrived just as we were coming down the ridge of the hill, arrogantly wove in and out of our group trying to photograph us. Not wishing to give him the satisfaction, we staged a sort of improvised ballet to dodge his camera, while Umm Khaled continued straight on her own way, head held high, without even bothering to even look at him. 

The two settlers eventually left and we entered the village where Umm Khaled demonstrated how Taboun, a typical Palestinian bread, is made. We ate lunch together and enjoyed the view. In the afternoon, a trail of colored aprons and backpacks came over the hill on the dirt road as the children returned from the school in the next village and spent the afternoon playing with us, overcoming the initial shyness of our first encounter.

As the sun descended upon the horizon, we headed back home, our hearts filled with wonderful memories of the day and in hopes that other people of this devastated village will follow the example of Umm Khaled, an extraordinary woman.


The Volunteers of the Harvesting Peace Project 

Harvesting Peace is an Italian civilian peace intervention project in Palestine to support the olive harvest and the work of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (www.popularstruggle.org). The project is promoted by Service Civil International – Italy, Association for Peace and Un Ponte Per. Volunteers will be providing international accompaniment for four weeks in the village of Jeb al Theeb near Bethlehem, under threat by the nearby illegal settlements and settlers.



Gaza boy used as human shield: I’ll always remember
By Jared Malsin

Majid Rabah, 11, speaks in his home in Gaza City, 23 Nov. 2010. Rabah was
used as a human shield during Israel`s winter offensive on Gaza. [MaanImages]

GAZA CITY — Majid Rabah, 11, says he will always remember the “black day” that Israeli soldiers ordered him to open bags they thought were rigged with explosives.

“Every moment I remember what happened,” he said in his home in Gaza City’s Tel Al-Hawwa neighborhood Tuesday.

An Israeli military court gave a suspended sentence and a demotion Sunday to the two soldiers who used Majid as a human shield, in a ruling he and his family said did not do justice to the trauma.

“When will the child forget what happened? This cannot be compared to three month’s [suspended] sentence,” said Majid’s mother, Fatima Rabah, 49. She added that she didn’t expect justice from the Israeli court system, and would prefer that an international court take up the matter.

“This will give Israeli soldiers a license to do whatever they like to Palestinian children. Many Palestinian children have died from Israeli guns and no one punished them,” she said. Majid himself said he was neither surprised nor satisfied by the Israeli court’s ruling.

Human rights advocates also said Sunday’s ruling sent the message that Israeli soldiers could violate Palestinian’s rights without consequences.

“This ruling implies that it is allowed for Israeli soldiers to use Palestinians, including children, as human shields, without being punished,” said Ayed Abu Eqtash of the organization Defense for Children International.

He said the case against the two soldiers was nothing more than an exercise in “Israeli PR” in the wake of judge Richard Goldstone’s UN-mandated report on alleged war crimes in Gaza.

“Israel wants to show the international community that it is abiding by Goldstone’s recommendations, but these procedures do not lead to accountability.”

Eqtash said the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2005 barring the military from using Palestinians as human shields, but DCI has documented 15 cases in which children were used as such since then.

In the most recent documented case, on 19 August, a DCI investigation found that a 13-year-old boy from a village near the West Bank city of Nablus was beaten then forced at gunpoint to open doors in a house where the army suspected a wanted Palestinian was hiding.

Majid was used as a human shield on 15 January 2009, just as Israel’s 3-week offensive on Gaza appeared to be peaking. Israeli ground forces were smashing their way through Tel Al-Hawwa, a neighborhood of tower blocks south of Gaza City.

According to Majid and his mother, when Israeli soldiers began storming buildings in their area, families, nearly 40 people in all, in the building took shelter in the dirt-floor basement. While the others cowered in one corner, soldiers from the Givati Brigade arrived and ordered Majid, in Hebrew, to open two Samsonite duffle bags they found in a bathroom in the other corner.

In an affidavit provided to DCI, Majid gave more details: “The soldier approached me and grabbed my shirt from my neck and dragged me away. ‘He’s a child,’ my mother began shouting. I thought they would kill me.”

“I became very scared and wet my pants,” he recalled, “I could not shout or say anything because I was too afraid. The soldier dragged me 20 meters away. He pointed his weapon at me. He was shouting at me and I did not understand him, so he grabbed me and pushed me against the wall.”

Trembling with fear, he managed to open the first bag, which contained money and personal possessions brought to the basement by another resident in his building. When he was unable to open the other, one of the soldiers grabbed him by the hair, slapped him in the face, then shot the bag with his rifle, he said.

Later that day, Majid’s mother said, soldiers came to the basement to separate men from women and children, who were told to leave the building. Fearing that the men were being arrested, the women and children fled to Al-Quds Hospital, a Red Crescent installation nearby.

That same day, Israeli warplanes bombed the hospital with white phosphorus, forcing patients, hospital workers and hundreds of sheltering civilians to flee amid gunfire and shelling. Majid, his two sisters, and mother left in an ambulance to the Red Cross center in Gaza.

Written FOR

Also see THIS report   Israeli Army Still Using Children As Human Shields In 2010

And THIS one Voices from the Occupation : ’I Was A Human Shield’

(Both from Uruknet)


Young Israeli tourists have a reputation abroad, and it’s not a good one. To generalise, they are arrogant, pushy, rude and downright obnoxious. They have an attitude that the world belongs to them and they can behave in any manner they wish to, in other words, they are being Israeli.

I recall an incident that occurred about twenty years ago when I was traveling in New York, I was on line, waiting my turn in an electrical shop in downtown Manhattan. There was a woman in front of me in the que. When we reached the counter she had a question about a telephone she wanted to buy but she could not speak English, only Hebrew. I helped her and translated for the sales clerk. When it was my turn, he asked me if I was from her country. When I responded that I was, he said “but you are civilised”! That said it all about the reputation I spoke of a moment ago.

THIS post from the archives THE UNHOLINESS OF THE HOLY LAND says allot about the goings on of the young people in question, nothing that the state of Israel could be proud of if it was to worry about its image abroad. (Be sure to click on the links in the post to get a complete picture). But, in true Israeli style they narrowed in on one particular aspect to make an issue of, it is dealt with in the report below.

Instead of concerning itself with trying to end the illegal occupation of Palestine, the illegal settlements, the wall of apartheid, the list is endless …. they are embarrassed by the illegal carts set up in malls throughout the country….

Foreign Ministry: Mall carts an embarrassment

Dozens of Israelis arrested every year in malls worldwide for working in sales illegally. As holiday season approaches, Foreign Ministry urges young Israelis, ‘Don’t break the law, we won’t be able to help’

The Foreign Ministry has declared a war on mall carts: The Christian holiday season, including Christmas and the New Year, is known as a record breaking period for local consumer sales. Many Israelis, mostly in their twenties, take advantage of shopping season madness in order to travel and make a killing in the local malls, often working in the country illegally.

The Foreign Ministry which is usually asked to intervene when they get into trouble is making it clear in advance this year: We won’t be able to help Israeli detainees.

A memo distributed by the head of the department of consular services for Israelis abroad Amnon Kalmar, called on consular representatives in North America and Western Europe to take steps to minimize the phenomenon of illegal mall carts during the holiday season.

Carts damage image abroad (Photo: Getty Images Bank)

According to Kalmar: “Every year many young Israelis go abroad to try their luck. They are tempted by the adventure and by the promise of fast and easy money, but the adventure usually ends with them being arrested and even deported from the country.” Talking to Ynet, Kalmar estimated that dozens of Israelis are arrested abroad every year.

“We mostly get to meet them when they are arrested for working or staying in the country illegally, and then we are asked to help them and get them out of the situation they find themselves in,” he said.

“The main problem with the whole story is expectations gap between them and us – they are convinced that we can save them and solve their problems, but in fact, we can’t intervene in any legal proceedings against them outside of Israel. The families urge us to act for their early release, but the issue isn’t even in our hands. We can’t speed up legal proceedings with a local judge,” explained Kalmar.

Kalmar said that every year the Foreign Ministry offers detainees consular, logistical and humanitarian assistance and makes sure, among other things that the detainees are held in reasonable conditions and receive kosher food and telephone calls.

Yet Kalmar stresses that these arrests are unnecessary and are harmful to Israel‘s image: “First and foremost we would like to appeal to the young Israelis who hear stories from their friends, go out to work and aren’t always aware of the destination country’s laws. After they are arrested, they can’t handle being in detention facilities and prisons and they turn to us”.

He noted that some of the detainees are forced to remain in prison for over a month. “The people involved are usually good people, who have just completed their IDF service, and it is important that they understand what they are heading for, If you work illegally you could end up in prison, deportation and a situation which leaves you unable to return to the country for a very long time, if at all.

“Our message is clear: Going abroad? Respect local laws and avoid staying and working in the country illegally.”

Reminder: No free lunches

“Dead Sea products belong on the shelves of the finest US department stores, not illegal mall carts” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Ynet. He joined those condemning the mall cart phenomenon and told of the damages caused by the young Israelis’ behavior: “Israel invests a lot of effort in marketing and PR and any Illegal Israeli behavior is improper and hurtful to those efforts.”
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman for domestic media, Yossi Levi explained that “when an Israeli citizen breaks the law in a foreign country, he is also hurting Israel’s reputation and the reputation of other Israelis who may have to pay the price for his actions – for example in Israel’s entry visa “credit rating”.
“Breaking the law is indecent, immoral and deserves to be punished in any country; we stress again and again, remember that and act with extreme care.
“We would like to remind Israelis that there is no such thing as a free lunch, with the possible exception of the meager breakfast served in a moldy detention cell somewhere.”



THIS opened a whole new can of worms for Israel’s mouthpiece in America… the following might look unrelated to the porn scandal, but the timing is too coincidental for it not to be.

IRS Asked to Revoke AIPAC’s Tax Exemption

WASHINGTON — Today the Internal Revenue Service received a 1,389 page filing demanding that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC’s) tax exempt status be retroactively revoked.  The filing, submitted by the IRmep Center for Policy and Law Enforcement, spans nearly 60 years, from the moment AIPAC’s founder left the employment of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the present.

Two core charges are:

  1. False Charitable Purpose.  AIPAC has been investigated several times by the FBI and is currently in a civil suit over the ongoing acquisition and movement of U.S. government classified information.  The filing argues that such activities reveal AIPAC does not function as a bona fide “social welfare” organization.
  2. Fraudulent Application for Tax Exempt Status.  AIPAC’s original application for tax exempt status contains fraudulent representations and omissions.  It fails to mention that AIPAC’s parent organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC) was shut down by a U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act order in 1962.  AIPAC incorporated six weeks later and applied for tax exempt status, but failed to reveal that the majority of its startup funding came from Israel, funneled through the AZC.

Members of the public, state charity watchdogs and the law enforcement community may download and review the complaint summary at: http://www.IRmep.org/IRSAIPAC.pdf. For a DVD of the full IRS complaint and appendix, send an email and official surface mail address to info@irmep.org .IRmep director Grant F. Smith and callers grilled IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman on National Public Radio January 1, 2010 over lax IRS enforcement toward some Israel-related nonprofits committing illegal acts overseas and violating U.S. tax laws.  Shulman assured America that, “If a charity is breaking the tax law, is engaged in activities that they are not supposed to be engaged in, we certainly will go after them. Every year we pull 501(c)(3) charity status from a number of charities. We’ve got thousands of audits going on regarding charities, and so we don’t hesitate to administer the tax laws and make sure that people are following the rules.”

According to Smith, “By publicly filing this 13909 complaint with the IRS, we encourage concerned Americans and misled donors to monitor whether the IRS takes appropriate action.  The clock is ticking.”

The Center for Policy and Law Enforcement is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy





Occupation Terrorism, BDS successes, AIPAC and more
Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

From Johanna “This footage is from the demo on Saturday. It shows when the soldiers started pushing the kids and then they started to arrest people and throw sound bombs and then tear gas! And then there is the footage from the little Mohamed being arrested. Actually he was 14 years old. He is still in Jail and tomorrow he has a hearing. The soldiers claim that he threw stones.”

Inspiring: 100-year-old refugee gets new Gaza home in time for Eid by Rami Almeghari writing from occupied Gaza Strip

US government asked to Revoke AIPAC’s (Israel lobby) Tax Exemption

Success of BDS (Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions) continue

From Israeli Citizens: Please Do not Hold the 2010 Cleveringa Lecture at the Hebrew University! 

Take actions

More Chutzpah: Israeli Knesset passes law that requires a two third majority or a referendum to comply with International law to end its illegal occupation
Israel war criminals data cannot be hidden.Several websites hosted the information (more would be welcome since racist Zionists are trying to shut out dissemination of such information) 




Full body checks have been routine at the Israeli airport for years. Racial profiling is the norm. Anyone suspected of anything suspicious can be detained for hours, often causing them to miss their flight. In those cases, no compensation is offered and new arrangements are at the expense of the traveler.

Following is an open letter to Israelis from an Australian tourist …

‘I may never return to Israel’

Australian tourist writes open letter to Israelis about her experience with airport security. ‘I never want to go through that again even if it means not coming back to Israel,’ she says

I am a 24-year-old female Australian law student and first visited Israel last year. I had a really enjoyable trip visiting friends and as such, decided to return for a second trip to visit their newborn baby this year. However, I had an experience with Israeli security at the airport flying from Amsterdam that would make me think twice about traveling to Israel again in the future.

Before checking-in for my flight, passengers were required to undergo a brief security interview. As part of this, I was asked what I was doing in Amsterdam and who I was staying with. My answer: “Visiting two Australian friends from law school currently living in Holland.” Security asked for their names. I had nothing to conceal and neither did my friends, so I gave security their names as requested. This should have been a simple affair if it was not for the sole reason that one of my friends, born and raised in Australia, happened to have an Arabic sounding surname.

Immediately and without explanation, my bags and passport were taken from me and further security appeared demanding to know whether this girl was really Australian. I found this question offensive: she is as “Australian” as I am, just without my “stereotypical” blond hair and blue eyes. They started questioning her background, which made me think: if she or I were any type of security threat, would I openly say her name? Of course not. The situation didn’t seem rational to me.

I was directed to a different boarding gate to all other passengers. A lady was waiting for me at the gate and ordered me to follow her into an isolated, underground section of the terminal where I was placed in the custody of approximately five security officers . Needless to say, a very intimidating and confusing situation.

There, security officers spoke between themselves in Hebrew, which I cannot understand, and provided me with no explanation of what was happening even though I kept asking. Again, without any explanation, I was ordered to a private room with two female security officers with the only English instructions being “move over there and bring whatever money you have with you.”

This did not clarify things for me. I again tried to enquire what was going on because, but again, they continued to communicate only in Hebrew and still I received no response to my questions. Eventually I received a response when I asked, “Is this a random security check?” One lady paused and barked at me, “No.” I was silent after this.

In this room, I was strip searched. I was ordered to remove my shirt, pants and bra. Again, no explanation was given as to why I was being ordered to remove my clothes. The security officers still spoke in Hebrew on radios between the rooms. I was ordered to put my clothes back on and join the other security officers in the first room. I was given a chair in the corner of the room behind a partial screen to sit and wait while every item of my backpack was examined in detail, my laptop was taken from my sight and the occasional question thrown at me across the room.

‘I was ordered to remove my shirt, pants and bra’ (Archive photo: Reuters)

By this point, I was feeling very intimidated and uncomfortable. I was alone in a separate underground area of the terminal and surrounded by security officers. I was being treated as if I was guilty of a crime, yet I did not even know what the allegation was nor did I have any idea of what was happening as everyone was speaking in Hebrew and still refusing to answer my questions.

Finally I was declared no risk to security. However, my laptop, camera, iPod were put in a separate box and taken away from me without explanation. I watched all my photos from three months abroad, my laptop with important documents on it and covered only by a small piece of bubble wrap in a cardboard box, and my Australian phone disappearing down the hallway without any explanation after I had just been told I was no security threat.

I boarded the flight, completely bewildered, confused and upset about the situation that had just occurred. I was not offered any kind of apology or explanation. This process had taken over an hour.

Unfortunately, this is not the only negative experience I have had with Israeli security. Upon leaving Tel Aviv last year I underwent a routine search and a keffiyeh I had bought as a souvenir in Jerusalem was jumped upon. A security guard held up the keffiyeh in the air and stated (I remember his exact words): “Do you realize what this is?” I replied, ‘Yes it’s a keffiyeh, they are being sold everywhere in Jerusalem.” The disdain in his voice was clear as he asked again, “Yes, but do you realize what this represents? This is a symbol calling for the end of Israel.”

I was taken to a separate room and searched extensively. I ultimately lost my laptop battery as I was not allowed to fly with it and it never turned up at my destination (hence my concern for my valuables this time). I was shocked at the way I was treated for buying a keffiyeh and I was shocked at the comments of the security officer in relation to the keffiyeh.

I do understand the importance of airport screening and security measures. However, I am offended that I would be subjected to such degrading treatment solely because I am friends with an Australian woman of Arabic dissent and I was provided with no explanation or apology for this treatment. Furthermore, I found it incredibly inappropriate to refer to the keffiyeh I had in my bag an item of disdain and danger.

Despite having some of my closest friends in Israel and having an enjoyable visit both times, I walked away from the security area simply thinking, “I never want to go through that again even if it means not coming back to Israel.” Sure I could have not said my friends’ Arabic sounding surname and it would have saved a lot of hassle. However, when asked a question by security and I have nothing to hide in any way, why should I have to conceal my friends’ name?

The only positive experience in the flight from Amsterdam was one of the young trainee security officers standing uncomfortably to the side during this whole process. After I was declared not a security risk and we were alone, she took one look at me and learned forward and whispered, “I think you need a cup of tea after this.”

I hope that in the future, Israeli security officers show more respect in their work. Indeed, my time at the airport heading out of Israel was uneventful and an example of the fact not all security officers are behaving in this way but those that do are indeed having a negative impact on visitors to Israel.

El Al: Security our guiding principle

Tens of thousands of tourists are familiar with Nicki’s negative experience on her way to the Holy Land. According to figures released by the Prime Minister’s Office about half an year ago, some 300,000 people are detained every day while entering Israel, just because their name or personal profile are similar to those of a suspicious person.

A total of 100,000 tourists are detained every year, some of them having to go through the same experience Nicki went through during her two visits.

Amy Cohen’s parents, for example, were detained based on “intelligence information” received by the Immigration Authority. “They told them that they were missionaries and had to leave Israel,” says Amy. “They were released after 13 hours in custody, not before they were forced to sign a document promising not to engage in any missionary activity.”

Apart from potential missionaries or terror activists, airport security has also detained people who seemed to be trying to immigrate to Israel illegally, including some foreign sportsmen who arrived in the Holy Land to join Israeli teams and were deported instead.

“Nicki and I have been good friends for years, and she really loved Israel on her first visit,” says Yahli Shereshevsky, 28, a fellow researcher at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law. “I was amazed and shocked by the treatment given to such a lovely, innocent and kind girl.

“Beyond the shock, such an incident has a negative impact on the State’s image and character. I am a proud citizen of the State of Israel, and many times I find myself praising the country in conversations with friends from abroad. I served in a combat unit in the army and I fully understand the State’s need to defend itself.

“But the need for security checks has nothing to do with the humiliating way they are implemented. In what way would the State’s security have been harmed had they answered Nicki’s questions, apologized from the bottom of their hearts for the discomfort she suffered, and considered the need to undress her and invade her privacy by examining the pictures and files on her computer?

“Nicki’s case illustrates the damage one single person can cause in his treatment of those arriving at Israel’s gates. Unfortunately, in this case it was more than one person, and after I began investigating I discovered that this is a much more widespread phenomenon.

“I don’t think this is an intentional policy of the State or airlines, but they are responsible, and in the current situation they are helping damage the State’s image and hurting its visitors.”

An El Al spokesman said in response, “The passenger was checked in accordance with all security orders. Security is El Al’s guiding principle, and the security officers are doing an excellent job under difficult conditions.”




I went with a friend to our cellular phone provider’s office the other day. We both had the same model phone, mine needed a new ‘face’, her’s needed a new battery. We were told that this particular model was discontinued (which is understandable seeing that we bought them 8 years ago) and parts, including batteries were no longer available. We would have to buy new phones.

Both of us were quite satisfied with the past performance of our phones, so we opted to buy new ones from the same manufacturer, Nokia.


We both bought extra batteries to have in case the same problem of discontinuation occurred. The first thing we discovered was that the new battery was the same as the one that was in the older model, which we were forced ‘to put to sleep’. So, it is obvious that the sales clerk was ‘programmed’ to lie to us in order to make a new sale. That’s fine as 8 years was quite a healthy lifespan for devices used as often as these were.


It took me awhile to get my new phone into the modes that I wanted, but it was finally ready for use. It was time to fill out the warranty card. It seemed there was a mistake, I apparently got a card meant for consumers living in Arabic speaking countries. The text was in Arabic and English. Not a word in Hebrew. Don’t you find that strange for an item that was purchased in Israel? What was even stranger was the countries listed and their contact numbers….

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen

Is Nokia ashamed to be doing business in Israel, AS THEY SHOULD BE….. or are they trying to dodge the boycott against them by conveniently omitting Israel from the list?

Bottom line is that it should have been on the list and they should be boycotted! ….. as well as the companies named in THIS post.


What started out as a Website posted on many Blogs and a few select Israeli newspapers has reached the international press and is getting world wide exposure….

The site, which Israeli media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the 200 soldiers listed as “war criminals”. The list also included the home addresses, birth dates and national ID numbers of many of the Israelis, who range from low-ranking soldiers to senior officers.

Troops in Gaza assault named on website

Smoke rises from explosions caused by Israeli operations in Gaza City in January of last year.
Hatem Moussa / AP

TEL AVIV // A new website listing names and photographs of dozens of Israeli soldiers involved in the onslaught launched by Israel in Gaza in late 2008 appears to have embarrassed the Israeli army.

The site, which Israeli media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the 200 soldiers listed as “war criminals”. The list also included the home addresses, birth dates and national ID numbers of many of the Israelis, who range from low-ranking soldiers to senior officers.

The list seemed to be part of a growing effort by activists, both in Israel and abroad, to pursue the pressing of war crime charges under the principle of universal jurisdiction against Israeli soldiers who participated in the attack. The three-week offensive launched by Israel in December 2008 resulted in the killings of about 1,400 Gazans, most of them civilians.

The disclosure of the troops’ details also appeared to expose the Israeli military’s growing difficulty in restricting such information from being revealed in the internet era, despite the army’s technology-savvy image. Data such as soldiers’ home addresses is not typically readily available to the public in Israel.

The Israeli military on Friday condemned the website, saying the data was published “without any factual basis whatsoever”. It played down the possibility that the publication may endanger troops, saying the information “poses no real threat to those whose names ended up on the list”. But the response of some senior army officials indicated otherwise. Avi Zamir, the head of the army’s manpower division, called the details’ publication a “grave event” and pledged to “support the soldiers and officers” listed.

High-profile Israeli politicians or army officers have been increasingly pulling out of visits to European countries such as Britain and Belgium, where legal action has been weighed against those involved in the Gaza operation, for fear of arrest over war crimes allegations under universal jurisdiction laws. However, no cases have gone ahead.

Nevertheless, in January, the Israeli military put off a visit by a team of its commanders to London over fears that they risked being detained. Such concerns were one of the key issues discussed during a visit by the UK’s foreign secretary to Israel earlier this month.

The website drew wide coverage in Israel because it was unusual in that it listed not only the army’s top-ranking officers, but also commanders of battalions, companies and platoons and even conscripted soldiers. “From now on, European travel may entail some risk even to a young platoon commander from the paratroopers’ brigade, who may have in the meantime been released from the army and was considering studying abroad,” wrote Amos Harel, a commentator in the Haaretz newspaper. “Beyond the threat of arrest, a publication of this nature may trigger some very unpleasant responses with which Israelis may have to contend.”

The site, which had been called “Israeli war criminals”, was removed by its hosting service on Friday because of an unspecified breach in its terms of service, Haaretz reported. Nevertheless, before its removal, the information it had gathered – written in both Hebrew and English – was rapidly replicated on other blogs and websites and remains available. Israeli media reported that the list was riddled with inaccuracies, including listing soldiers who never participated in the Gaza assault. But the reports also said that the apparently updated personal data indicate that the website’s creators collaborated with Israelis, possibly even soldiers, in gathering the details.

The introduction to the list says the information came from an anonymous source who was “presumably” serving in the Israeli military. “The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack,” the activists wrote. “Therefore, not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same.”

According to Haaretz, even the names of officers who replaced wounded battalion commanders during the war were included on the list, indicating its gatherers’ “considerable proficiency”.



The Palestinian child is directly affected by the scenes of incursion, blood and war. The child is not given the basic childhood rights. It is even hard for her/him to find a space for fun, and also to get her/him physiological needs satisfied. The child retains memories of all means of death that his/her family passed through during the time of instability and warfare caused by the Israeli regular militant activities in his/her area.


By Ayman Quader

What is a hero? From my perspective several thoughts emerge in my mind when I think of a hero, specifically in a very broad sense. The word hero applies dynamically to individuals in different contexts of culture, history, gender, etc. The term hero might generally be associated with that man who is brave, generous and courageous. Considering yourself a hero, you would intimately reflect your own identity, culture, conflict and history.

For me, it had been actually wonderful when I discovered that my personality is motivated toward many interests particularly in my career. I finished my studies from the Islamic University of Gaza and I was well-prepared to be a teacher of English language. Through my early life, people around me never stop telling me that I have got a smile face and always you enjoy being close with children. There is one prime characteristic I really admire about the life of the refugee camp that its small roads always crowed with young children where they have fun and enjoy their time in such dire environment. Accordingly, my attitudes had been changed from being teacher of English language for children into being very close to them through another dimension of work which the humanitarian aid and relief work.

Personally, it would be simple to identify the concept of hero according to my perception and my experience in Palestine. Having this course of childhood inside me, the hero is the Palestinian child who grows up and builds his life in the light of such dire conflict. This perspective is due to the fact that I lived in this situation of conflict my entire life as well as being close to children though my previous work. In this regard, I shift my thoughts dramatically to recognize the child’s Smile as heroic figure. This smile would cry lots of qualities and values specifically in the context of the Gaza Strip. My hero is a young Palestinian child who keeps a smile on his face and keeps aspiring of a better future despite living a life in struggle and conflict.

During the fifth model period, we took an exercise called Butoh Dance. In this exercise, my imagination and memory had been perfectly working and I went behind the dancing world. It enhances my bodily awareness not only for individuals but rather for social groups this happened through greatly activating my inner imagination. This took place when we were asked to play the role of being a tree then later on to consider myself, old woman, old man, and child. My flash memory easily helped me in order to recall those people where I lived part of my life with. The only image that recalled in my mind was a young child who is of 12 years. It was very much expressive for me as I spent fifteen minutes with in his world before I imagine myself a child. In this moment I had the feeling that I wanted to stay as long as I can with this child since this child is close to my heart. Subsequently, I realized that dancing and getting my body part moving negatively impacted the recalled image, and then I decided to still recalling the image while lying in the ground.

It’s hard to count the characteristics that constitute the child’s smile. Ambitious, amusing, patient, bearable, conscious, knowledgeable, would ensure the strength of this young child as a hero in the time of conflict and insecurity.

The Rights of Children in Gaza

The Palestinian child is directly affected by the scenes of incursion, blood and war. The child is not given the basic childhood rights. It is even hard for her/him to find a space for fun, and also to get her/him physiological needs satisfied. The child retains memories of all means of death that his/her family passed through during the time of instability and warfare caused by the Israeli regular militant activities in his/her area.

Children around the world all share something in common in terms of love needed, compassion and smile. The Palestinian Gazan child has experienced an ongoing siege of unprecedented severity, including various blockages of fuel and electricity provisions, as well as all other energy resources. Israel has also imposed a strict closure on all the Gaza Strip border crossings, preventing movement of civilians, including patients seeking medical care.

Young heroes

In my following examples I would like to illustrate my definition of hero in clearer manner. There are many examples of children that inspired me while I was in my home. In this example, I will prove how the smile and the joy of children in Gaza are really heroic figures.

To start with, I remember my seven-year old sister’s smile Raghed enjoying her romantic candle light while studying her science lesson. The candle lighting at her table was not due to a special occasion. In fact, candles have become a necessity for Raghed and all children in Gaza due to the regular cut of electricity. Her smile still waves within my imaginary how she created sort of fund out of this exceptional hard situation she passed.

To move from Raghed to another aspiring childhood example named Loa’I Suboh. After the recent 23-day of war (Dec 2008 – Jan 2009) on the Gaza Strip, I started reporting some of the tragic stories directly from the mouths of children. One month after the attack, I met Loa’i Suboh, a ten-year old child who has lost his eyes in the attacks. He was injured by an Israeli air raid targeting his family in north of the Gaza Strip. Loa’i was wounded when he left the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) School with his family, as they were taking shelter on the premises. They wanted to get back to their home to fetch some personal belonging things like food and blankets. Loa’i was left bleeding for an hour and half and no one was able to have access to him and save him because of the heavy of the Israeli shelling at that time. One year after these sad events, Loa’i assured me that his blindness will never obstruct his future to be a good business man. Loa’i is an active and intelligent boy. His steadfastness and determination to complete his studies and accomplish his goals are in my opinion truly heroic, even if, sadly, his case is far from being unique.

According to data from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), 313 children under the age of 18 were killed in 23 days of war on the Strip (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 2009:13). A great number of children has been killed or injured as a result of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. The majority were killed as a result of Israeli violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), such as willful killing, violations of the principle of distinction, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. After years of occupation and conflict children already stressed were profoundly traumatized. The significant number of killing of children or leaving them with a more or less severe handicap, has increased the cases of children suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while there is no child who didn’t suffer a major trauma: from destruction of his home to loss of a parent, a sibling, from destruction of his school, playground, to the loss of a friend, a neighbor. They still dream and hope for peace and having space for entertaining.

I remember a Day of Action for children organized in one of the Refugee camps in the centre of the Gaza strip named (Al-Maghazi refugee camp). The event was called “Quest for Smile”. Through this after-school event, I saw the steadfastness of the children’s smiles, their smiles full of innocence. They eagerly assembled during this event and shared moments of joy and friendship. The event was organized in a local park fifty meters away from a demolished building. During the recent Israeli assault over the Gaza Strip, three children living in Al-Maghazi refugees camp were killed, and over 30 were critically wounded. Those children had been suffering from the ongoing insecurity of war and blockade over them. They were extremely cheerful during this event. “No words can express the joy experienced by these children during the event”, said one audience member, noting how the children couldn’t stop clapping and dancing with the costumed performers. The young children enjoyed several activities and performances, including dancing, group games, a trivia contest, and others, as well as spending some leisurely time outside with friends. It is really inspiring to see the bad psychological state of these children, and see how they bear such difficult circumstances and still have fun.

Through my experience as a humanitarian aid worker in Gaza, I realized how the children are affected by the consequences of the conflict and the conditions on the ground. I witnessed their struggle and how they fight to keep a smile on their faces. They play on the rubble of their homes and keep smiling. This is my hero personal perspective that embodied with children smile. Now I will explore etymological meaning of hero in Arabic since the Arabic language is a bit difficult in exploring the etymological words.


Written FOR


Chicago’s very own DePaul University just announced that their dining services will be discontinuing the sale of hummus manufactured by Sabra, an Israeli brand known for its vocal and material support of Israeli Defense Forces.

DePaul divests from Israeli hummus product

By Sami Kishawi

Today marks another win for the global boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against corporations that profit from severe human rights violations. Chicago’s very own DePaul University just announced that their dining services will be discontinuing the sale of hummus manufactured by Sabra, an Israeli brand known for its vocal and material support of Israeli Defense Forces. The administration has temporarily suspended the sale of Sabra products and will likely move towards permanently banning the brand from campus.

A little over two weeks ago, members of DePaul’s Students for Justice in Palestine expressed concern over the sale of Sabra products after discovering that Chartwells, which provides dining services to the university, had introduced the Israeli-brand hummus to food and dining facilities throughout campus.  Acting on their concern, the students compiled research and revealed that the Strauss Group, co-owner of Sabra, has direct monetary ties with elite Israeli military forces currently and historically involved in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. One week after bringing the issue to the attention of campus administrators, the university informed campaign organizers that Sabra products are set to be removed from shelves for the remainder of the school quarter and will most likely not be sold on campus in the future. (Read the email sent to administrators at the end of the post.)

The ultimate success of this modest divestment campaign isn’t that it resulted in the removal of a product from campus cafeteria shelves but, rather, that it has undoubtedly set the framework for future campaigns in college campuses throughout the United States. With exactly 156 colleges and universities using Chartwells for their campus dining needs, the BDS movement against IDF-sponsoring companies like Strauss Group and Sabra can potentially reach national heights. By discontinuing the sale of Sabra products, DePaul University has made its stance clear: Any product or company involved with flagrant human rights violations against Palestinians or any other people does not mirror the principles on which the university is founded and is therefore not welcome on campus. The administration’s quick response indicates the importance of preserving and respecting Palestinian rights by divesting from companies that do the exact opposite.

DePaul’s divestment from Strauss Group-owned Sabra products comes less than a month after a similar attempt at divestment hit the streets of Philadelphia. Over two dozen activists gathered at a supermarket near the University of Pennsylvania to protest the sale of Sabra hummus. A video of the action was released to the public via YouTube where it quickly grew in popularity and eventually prompted Strauss Group to remove all references supporting the Israeli military from its English-translated website. However, the Hebrew version of the website still maintains the corporation’s public support of IDF activity.

Major BDS campaigns generally take years of concentrated grassroots efforts before any significant progress is made but that did not deter the small group of DePaul students from voicing their concern and offering alternative solutions that fell in line with the university’s code of ethics. The efforts put into this divestment campaign, both at DePaul and in Philadelphia, serve as a model for future college BDS movements. Any institution of higher learning that promotes morality, justice, and respect must make sure to abide by its principles. If it doesn’t, it is up to the students to make sure things change for the better.





The subpoenas will likely include immunity which forces the individuals to testify or face jail time.


Minneapolis, MN- Three of the nine Minneapolis peace activists who’s homes were raided on September 24, 2010 received notice of new subpoenas coming from the Chicago Grand Jury ordering appearances some time after Thanksgiving. Details are being resolved with the victim’s attorneys and the Chicago US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. The subpoenas will likely include immunity which forces the individuals to testify or face jail time. The the activists are Sarah Martin, Tracy Molm and Anh Pham.Supporters rallied in the fresh cold evening in solidarity with the activists and to enlist further community support. A delegation of activists from Minneapolis is in Washington today to seek ‘Dear Colleague Letters’ and other action from the Minnesota Congressional Delegation.

Posted AT


First he asked for the money…. then he wanted it in writing…. NOW HE WANTS IT…. NOW!

Earlier this week, when the Israeli price was set at $3 billion (the cost of 20 F-35 fighter jets to be supplied to the Air Force,) it turned out that while Netanyahu may not be a great success story as a prime minister, he is phenomenal as a brothel manager.

Show me the money  

PM Netanyahu’s conduct in respect to building freeze similar to that of prostitute

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct in respect to the settlement construction freeze reminded to many Israelis a famous George Bernard Shaw quote: “We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.”

Earlier this week, when the Israeli price was set at $3 billion (the cost of 20 F-35 fighter jets to be supplied to the Air Force,) it turned out that while Netanyahu may not be a great success story as a prime minister, he is phenomenal as a brothel manager.

Indeed, Netanyahu has shown himself to be a real leader who through a determined insistence on his principles disproved the malicious claim that the Jews only like money, making it clear that they also like fighter jets worth plenty of money.

Truth is that using the “stealth bomber” card in this game was an almost unfair step by the Americans. After all, we have yet to see the Israeli leader who would be able to resist the “advanced fighter jet” charm. Indeed, waving an F-35 in Netanyahu’s face is similar to tempting a drug addict with a package from Columbia.

Peace through the wallet

However, it would be a pity if the Americans stop here and ignore the potential for leveraging this Israeli weakness to secure further diplomatic achievements. Israel insists that the construction freeze not be applied to east Jerusalem? Everything will be worked out with a few F-86s, known as the “sneaky bombers,” a technological wonder that can sneak its way to Iran’s nuclear reactor disguised as kohlrabi.

And you think that renouncing the “settlement blocs” is out of the question? Just give us a squadron of spaceships worth $90 billion and we’ll hand over Tel Aviv’s suburbs to the Palestinians as well.

It appears that at the end of the day, and after all the commotion, Netanyahu will end up doing the right thing about the freeze for all the wrong reasons. But why complain? After all, this past week we realized that if we fail to achieve peace through our brains, it shall arrive through the wallet.

After all, words like “principles,” “land of our forefathers” and “Minister Gilad Erdan” are merely a matter of price. When you realize that Israel’s leadership is not a determined ideologist, but rather, a prostitute with expensive taste in combat diamonds, everything looks much more optimistic. With someone like that we can do business.



AIPAC claims that Rosen, who was director of foreign policy issues at the lobby and one of its most senior and well-known employees, had engaged in viewing pornography on AIPAC computers at the lobby’s Washington offices. Partial transcripts of the lengthy videotaped deposition of Rosen, which were made public as part of AIPAC’s motion, show Rosen admitted to surfing pornographic websites from work.

AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback vs. Defamation Suit

At War: Steve Rosen (left), the former policy director at AIPAC, is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with the pro-Israel lobbying group. Recent AIPAC filings in the case have taken a salacious turn.  

At War: Steve Rosen (left), the former policy director at AIPAC, is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with the pro-Israel lobbying group. Recent AIPAC filings in the case have taken a salacious turn.

Washington — The espionage case against two senior officials of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington was dropped last year. But it has not been forgotten, and it’s now threatening to draw the lobby into new depths of mudslinging.

Papers filed in the civil lawsuit of former lobbyist Steve Rosen against his previous employers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee include mutual accusations of using pornographic material at the lobby headquarters, among other allegations. The papers, based on depositions taken from Rosen and from AIPAC principals, dig into the private lives of the involved parties. They also reveal in detail the close ties AIPAC officials held with Israeli diplomats based in Washington.

“After reading this stuff, you feel like you need to wash your hands,” one pro-Israel activist said after skimming through the 260-page document, which is laced with graphic descriptions and invasive personal details.

At issue is Rosen’s $20 million defamation lawsuit against his previous employers at AIPAC, who fired him and his colleague Keith Weissman in 2005 — several months after both had been indicted under a rarely used espionage statute because they allegedly received and passed on classified information. AIPAC, in a move that could be seen as meant to embarrass Rosen, revealed in its court filings extensive parts of the depositions, many of them dealing directly with Rosen’s personal life.

In an interview with the Forward after the court documents had been made public, Rosen said he was not deterred, and promised that when he files his own motion in December, the information in it will put AIPAC in the hot seat. “Any embarrassment I suffered as a result of what they filed will be insignificant compared to the embarrassment they’ll suffer after we file our motion,” Rosen said.

Rosen’s civil lawsuit seeks compensation and damages from AIPAC and from its outside public relations adviser, Patrick Dorton, for defamation. Rosen said he suffered severe damage to his reputation when

Dorton issued a statement on AIPAC’s behalf announcing that he and Weissman were fired because their actions did not comport with AIPAC standards. This statement was initially understood as being related to the allegations of Rosen receiving classified information and communicating it to others against AIPAC’s policy. But in its motion for summary judgment, filed November 5 with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, AIPAC cites a wider array of alleged points of misconduct that the pro-Israel lobby now says led to the decision to terminate him.

AIPAC claims that Rosen, who was director of foreign policy issues at the lobby and one of its most senior and well-known employees, had engaged in viewing pornography on AIPAC computers at the lobby’s Washington offices. Partial transcripts of the lengthy videotaped deposition of Rosen, which were made public as part of AIPAC’s motion, show Rosen admitted to surfing pornographic websites from work. But AIPAC’s lawyers insisted on more details:

Q: What type of pornography?

A: Sexual pornography.

Q: What type? Man on man, man on woman?

A: Anything. Anything that occurred to me.

Rosen also added more details than, perhaps, the attorney for AIPAC had bargained for.

“I witnessed [AIPAC executive director] Howard Kohr viewing pornographic material, [Kohr’s secretary] Annette Franzen viewing pornographic material, probably a dozen other members of the staff,” Rosen said in his deposition. He added that, according to a Nielsen survey, more than a quarter of Americans regularly view pornographic websites at their workplace.

Later in his deposition, the former lobbyist also said he had heard from directors at AIPAC about their visits to prostitutes and he claimed Kohr had routinely used “locker room language” at the AIPAC offices.

AIPAC did not seem deterred from getting dragged into a dirty debate. It also chose to include in its court filing an issue relating to Rosen’s personal life with only a vague connection to the lobby’s claim regarding Rosen’s actions being below AIPAC’s standards. AIPAC’s lawyers questioned Rosen in detail about his attempts to find male sexual companions through the online classifieds site Craigslist, an act Rosen referred to as “sexual experimentations.” This information came up in one of Rosen’s divorce cases — he has been married five times — and was supposed to remain under court seal.

The court documents also shed light on Rosen’s attempts to support himself and his family after being fired from AIPAC. The former lobbyist, as the depositions indicate, received cash gifts from several prominent Jewish philanthropists, among them some who are also major donors to AIPAC. The list includes Hollywood mogul Haim Saban, one of AIPAC’s key funders, who gave Rosen a total of $100,000; Daniel Abraham, founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, who gave Rosen, his wife and three children gifts of $5,000 to $10,000; and philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, who paid off a college loan for Rosen’s daughter. The list includes several other backers, including two described as “bundlers” who raised up to $200,000 for Rosen from other donors.

The rationale for introducing this issue is AIPAC’s claim that Rosen did not suffer any financial difficulty following his dismissal or due to Dorton’s claim in AIPAC’s public statement regarding Rosen’s supposed misconduct. Rosen believes that by supporting him these donors, many of them still active AIPAC members, demonstrated their displeasure with the manner in which the lobby treated its two former employees.

The personal and financial details that take up much of the deposition seemed to be tense at times, with flare ups between the attorneys of both sides. But the court papers also shed light on the events surrounding the FBI visit to Rosen’s home on August 27, 2004 that led to the indictment in the espionage case.

The FBI has alleged that Larry Franklin, a Pentagon analyst at the time, passed on national security information to Weissman, who in turn shared it with Rosen. The two former defendants did not know then that Franklin was cooperating with the FBI and that the information he provided them was part of a sting operation.

Rosen and Weissman learned from Franklin that Iranian forces were allegedly operating in northern Iraq and that they were plotting to kidnap Israeli operatives. They then disclosed this information to a senior Israeli diplomat, Naor Gilon, and to Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler. The depositions reveal that after being confronted by the FBI at his home, in what he described as a “very intense exchange of words” Rosen made a phone call to AIPAC’s legal counsel, who was shaken by the news and asked Rosen to come immediately to the lobby’s headquarters.

Rosen then called Rafi Barak, at the time the deputy chief of mission at Israel’s Washington embassy. Rosen convinced Barak to cancel other appointments and meet immediately at a coffee shop. He described to the Israeli diplomat the encounter he had just had with the FBI and the allegations they made about Israelis receiving classified information. “I probably made some reference to Pollard,” Rosen recalled, and Barak, according to the deposition, “got very upset too.”

AIPAC raises this episode in an attempt to prove that Rosen did not follow directly the instructions of the lobby’s lawyer to come immediately to the office. This could demonstrate how Rosen did not live up to AIPAC’s standards.

But former AIPAC staffer and now liberal columnist M.J. Rosenberg sees more to it. According to Rosenberg, if Rosen proves that his operations, including going to a foreign official to warn him about the investigation, were all part of AIPAC’s standard operating procedures, “that would mean that AIPAC is not a domestic lobbying organization at all, but something very, very different.”

In a statement released by AIPAC from Dorton, the lobbying group said, “As is demonstrated in detail in the pleadings that AIPAC has filed, this is a frivolous lawsuit with no merit. … Rosen’s claims are wildly inaccurate, are undermined by Rosen’s own admissions under oath in his deposition, and constitute a blatant attempt to detract attention from the true and relevant facts.”

The next round in this battle is expected with Rosen’s counter filing on December 2. Both sides can decide to settle the case outside the court before that, or at any phase before it reaches a jury trial.


Also see THIS related post at Sabbah’s Blog…

AIPAC Bares All to Quash Lawsuit




Economic Prison Zones
Sam Bahour *

When a project mixes the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli- Palestinian cooperation, how can anyone complain? These things are some of what the international community has been promising to deliver through the construction of industrial free trade zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The free trade zone model has been promoted locally and globally by powerful third parties like the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Japan for two decades, but none has much to show for the enormous efforts and amounts of money spent to bring these zones to life. Nonetheless, the project’s proponents expect the zones to constitute the economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. They hope that, by bolstering Palestine’s economy, the zones will make Palestinians less prone to social upheaval, less insistent on their national rights and more amenable to the status quo. The idea is that a peace agreement with Israel will ensue.

While this expectation is unlikely to be realized — at least not in the way that the projects’ advocates anticipate — these mega-employment projects present a serious challenge to those who strive to build an independent and viable economic foundation for a future Palestinian state.  Because the zones will depend on Israeli cooperation to function, and because they will exist within an Israeli-designed economic system that ensures Palestinian dependence on Israel, they cannot form the basis of a sovereign economy. Relying on them will perpetuate the status quo of dependency.

The industrial zones currently under construction in the West Bank are: the al-Jalama zone, in the north near Jenin, led by Germany with the support of Turkey;  the Bethlehem zone led by France and the Jericho Agricultural Park (the so-called Valley of Peace) in the Jordan Valley, led by Japan; the Tarqoumiyya Industrial Estate, in the south near Hebron, spearheaded by the World Bank and Turkey. In Gaza, the Erez Industrial Zone along the Gaza-Israel border was abandoned by Israel and is no longer operational. The Gaza Industrial Estate (which Israel calls the Karni Industrial Zone), a Palestinian-developed zone southeast of Gaza City, came to a standstill in 2007, when Israel heavily restricted the passageways into and out of Gaza. South Korea and India are also entertaining the idea of sponsoring a techno-park, [1] which may house more high-tech business, but this notion is the least developed of them all.

The longest-operating border zone is the Erez Industrial Zone located at the northern tip of the Gaza Strip. It was estimated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to employ 20,000 Palestinians, but it never came close to employing a quarter of that number and in 2004, the Israeli minister of defense made a decision to withdraw Israeli firms located in the zone for security reasons. The area became a no-man’s land. The Jerusalem Post reported on January 2, 2006 that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül visited Israel to sign agreements with Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) governing Turkey’s role in reviving the Erez industrial area. One Israeli official described the project as “the baby” of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan. But following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007, Turkey froze the project and the zone remains empty.

There is also a long-standing industrial area in the West Bank called Atarot, north of Jerusalem along the main road to Ramallah that, today, is split down the middle by Israel’s separation wall. The Atarot Industrial Area is fully operated by Israel and mostly hosts Israeli companies. Atarot sits on the western side of the separation wall, which makes it accessible to Palestinians from the West Bank only by way of a permit from the Israeli military.
At best, most of these industrial zones promise menial labor-intensive jobs to Palestinians who are extremely reliant on donor funds to maintain their livelihoods. The industrial zone project constitutes a shift from the current internationally funded welfare-like system, characterized by an inflated public sector and heavy subsistence handouts, to a system that is similarly based on foreign funding, but instead requires Palestinians to sell their labor for the benefit of those commercial entities established in the industrial zones, which will depend on Israeli good will to succeed. A closer look at how the zones are being developed, who is expected to profit from them and how they are connected to the global economy is telling.

Development for Peace
France is behind the creation of the Bethlehem Multidisciplinary Industrial Park, for which the PA issued title to 500 dunams (125 acres) of public property. French President Nicolas Sarkozy handpicked Valerie Hoffenberg, Paris director of the American Jewish Committee (a group that advocates for Israel), to be his “special envoy to the Middle East” for this purpose. It has been her job to oversee the project’s rollout.

In a report published in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on May 27, 2010, in which Hoffenberg was interviewed at length, she told the story of how the industrial free zone project was born at a dinner she attended with Sarkozy and Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2008. According to Hoffenberg, the project was informed by a belief, shared by Peres and Sarkozy, that a viable Palestinian economy would encourage the peace process. Hoffenberg, who works out of the French Foreign Ministry building, describes her work as “a new form of diplomacy.” Before the industrial park’s inauguration, Hoffenberg arranged a meeting between French and Israeli businessmen in an effort to bring them into the project. “I recruited 36 companies, including CEOs of the most important companies, such as France Telecom, Schneider Electric, Publicis, Renault, Sephora, JCDecaux — the whole ‘A-Team,’” Hoffenberg boasted.

Another nascent enterprise is the German-Turkish industrial zone in al-Jalama, outside the Palestinian city of Jenin, a traditional agricultural area. The project is run by the PA, Israel and the Shamal Company. Bisan for Research and Development, a Palestinian NGO which has organized extensively around the industrial zone phenomenon, notes that the project has faced opposition from farmers in the Jezreel Valley, one of the most fertile areas in Jenin, and may fall apart as a result. The farmers have been refusing to sell their land, partly because it is unclear what kinds of factories will be built and partly because agricultural land has already been confiscated by Israel for construction of its separation wall.

The al-Jalama project has received scant media attention, but nevertheless, it is the one, along with the Bethlehem project, that is proceeding the fastest. The planning process for the zone started long before the intifada that began in the fall of 2000. Germany’s leading development bank, KfW Entwicklungsbank, was commissioned to conduct a rather expensive feasibility study and, as a result, Germany committed 10 million euros to fund the infrastructure of the zone. But when Israel launched a major military redeployment in all Palestinian cities in 2000, the project was put on hold and Jenin’s infrastructure was destroyed. When the project was revisited in 2005, KfW was commissioned to update the feasibility study and Turkey was recruited to take part in the project. Supposedly, the Turkish side will acquire 75 percent and the Palestinian side 25 percent of the joint venture. It is unclear, however, if and how the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey following Israel’s assault on the Mavi Marmara aid ship will affect the project.

The US has mobilized to support all of these efforts through various means, most visible among them being support for reforms within the PA in Ramallah. This support is most apparent in PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s second-year program of the thirteenth government titled, “Homestretch to Freedom: Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State.” The program, which includes measures for reform in various aspects of government and economics, calls for, among other things, the development of industrial infrastructure by completing infrastructure works at industrial estates in Jenin, Bethlehem and Jericho and establishing three specialized industrial compounds, including for information technology, precious metals, renewable energy and leather industries. This program has received rave reviews from the US government and serves as a framework for the continued injection of donor funds.

Despite international enthusiasm at what is ostensibly a novel solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, the notion that bringing economic development to the Palestinians will promote peace has its roots in Israeli policy from the beginning of the occupation. After Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt in 1967, living standards in the Occupied Territories soared. While this growth was largely attributable to remittances from Palestinian workers in the Gulf and across the Green Line, which divides Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel invested in vocational training and agricultural development on a scale that had not been seen under Jordanian and Egyptian suzerainty. [2] Despite these efforts, and because of continued Israeli military rule and the repression of Palestinian national aspirations, a grassroots uprising spread throughout the Occupied Territories in 1987, and continued up until the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. Thus it was a political solution, and not an economic one, that ultimately brought peace.

The notion that business links will foster peace because the economic returns of cooperation will outweigh the benefits of resistance can only hold if both sides stand to benefit equally from collaboration. For the Palestinians, the benefit is hoped to be economic. For the Israelis, the project is expected to promote a more quiescent opponent; but should the endeavor fail, it is unlikely to exact a heavy economic toll upon Israel. If the industrial zones are to form the basis of the Palestinian economy, the Palestinians, on the other hand, will feel economic pressure to bend to Israel’s will. The project therefore assumes that the Palestinians are the spoilers of the peace process, and that if they can be persuaded to cooperate, a peace deal will be forthcoming. It does not leave room for the possibility that the status quo — separation — is indeed a viable option for Israel. Thus, rather than promoting a final settlement, this industrial zones project risks further entrenching Israel’s occupation.

Legal Status
Under the leadership of the late President Yasser Arafat, the PA enacted Law 10 of 1998 regarding industrial estates and industrial free zones. This law established a Palestinian Industrial Estate and Free Zone Authority (PIEFZA), which was to be the “one-stop shop for investors.” The PIEFZA board of directors consists of 11 members: seven PA ministers, two representatives of commercial developers and two representatives of chambers of commerce and industry and industrial federations. The industrial estates law states that PIEFZA shall be responsible for implementing policies pertinent to establishing and developing industrial estates and free zones in Palestine and issuing certificates to investors. Article 39 states that: “Local goods and products supplied to the industrial free zone from any Palestinian territories shall not be subject to any established procedures, taxes or duties.” This exclusion has become a major concern for the local community given the rumor that Palestinian labor laws will not apply to workers who are employed in these zones. Likewise, Article 40 of the law stipulates: “All goods and products manufactured in the industrial free zones and exported abroad shall not be subject to the rules and legal procedures established for export, export taxes and any other taxes.”

A detailed search of the PIEFZA website reveals no information regarding the policies for establishing and developing zones. A written request for more information submitted to PIEFZA’s director general went unanswered. In addition, and puzzlingly, the investor’s application listed on PIEFZA’s website directs applicants to fax completed applications to a Gaza office, which presumably is now staffed by someone from Hamas’ government. That the process is so lacking in transparency is a poor reflection on the status of Palestinian institutional reforms. What good is investment in public institution building if these mega- employment centers are excluded from the systems being established?

Legal acrobatics aside, questions like who is importing materials into these zones and who is receiving the exports must be analyzed in much greater detail. Following the money trail will most likely lead to the same few Palestinians who have financially benefited from the Oslo process. One clear indication is the rush by specific economic entities and persons buying land in the vicinity of these planned zones. With the majority of Palestinian lands not formally registered with the Palestinian Land Authority, it would be impossible to understand who actually holds ownership of these lands.

Who Profits?
The working assumption is that these zones will be open for business to any Palestinian or international company wanting to establish a factory within them. Although the sectorial theme of each zone is unclear, if existing zones (such as the maquiladoras in Mexico or those in Jamaica) are any indication, the zones in Palestine will host “dirty” businesses — those that are pollution-prone and sweatshop-oriented. Jordan’s Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) provide a regional example. The Jordanian QIZs were envisaged as forming the basis of regional economic cooperation after Jordan and Israel’s 1994 peace treaty. To provide incentives for cooperation, products produced in the QIZs fall under the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement as long as they have a minimum 8 percent contribution from Israel. A similar setup can be expected for Palestinian zones, especially given the US desire to promote a Middle East Free Trade Area. While the Jordanian QIZs have generated 36,000 jobs, 75 percent of these have gone to foreign, mostly Asian, workers. [3] Given that the objective of the Palestinian zones is job creation, it can be expected that these zones would indeed employ Palestinian workers, but their special status raises questions about the working conditions that might dominate within them. The Jordanian QIZs, like many others around the world, are notorious for their exploitative labor practices.

According to two consultants to the Israeli government, the West Bank zones are expected to employ 150,000-200,000 Palestinians, nearly the same number that used to travel daily to Israel for work before the second intifada. [4] Studies from the Peres Peace Center project even higher numbers, estimating that 500,000 Palestinian workers will be employed in joint industrial zones by 2025. Israeli expectations do not stop there. The consultants also predicted that 30 percent of Palestinian businesses outside the zones will refocus their businesses to serve those enterprises located inside the zones.

In a nutshell, one can see a continuation of Israel’s scheme to reengineer the Palestinian economy away from its agricultural and tourism bases toward an economy that is dependent on Israeli public services and good will. This process has been unfolding since the start of Israel’s occupation in 1967. When the Israeli military took control of the West Bank and Gaza, it altered Palestinian agriculture by controlling the types of crops that could be planted to prevent competition with Israeli produce, seizing land to reduce the agricultural sector and taxing Palestinian exports while allowing Israeli products to enter the territories duty-free. The requirement that all industries obtain an Israeli license limited industrial development, as did higher taxes on Palestinian industries than on their Israeli counterparts. As a result, industries that developed tended to be those that provided Israeli industry with labor-intensive, low-cost products. Palestinian industry, agriculture and labor were therefore developed to suit the needs of Israel’s economy. [5] After the second intifada, when Palestinian workers were barred from traveling to Israel, many returned to the theretofore neglected agricultural sector for work. [6] Today, this economic reengineering effort in the West Bank can be viewed as an attempt to relocate the scores of Israeli settlement enterprises, which depend on Palestinian cheap labor, to these newly created “Palestinian” zones, thus “legalizing” their existence.

The project fits well with Israel’s policy of separation — a policy that enables Israel to box in the Palestinians while maintaining control of their movements and economic viability. Separation has been implemented gradually since the 1993 Oslo accords, after which Israel tightened its border with the West Bank and Gaza but continued to employ Palestinians in menial jobs within Israel. Closures were used as a form of collective punishment to cut off Palestinians from their jobs across the Green Line. After the second intifada broke out, Israel further tightened its border with the Occupied Territories. Later, Israel built the separation wall physically to divide Palestinian and Israeli populations, but Palestinian governing institutions, industry and freedom of movement continue to depend on Israel, which controls the borders surrounding the Occupied Territories and collects taxes for the PA. Foreigners replaced the Palestinian laborers who previously worked menial jobs in Israel. Foreign workers, however, have proved to be an unsatisfactory solution for Israel, given its overriding prerogative to maintain the Jewish character of the state, as these non-Jewish workers are now attempting to settle permanently. [7] The QIZ scheme would reduce Israel’s dependence on foreign workers by bringing the factories to Palestinian workers now that they are prohibited from traveling to the factories.

Movement and Access
As long as Israel controls access and resources in the West Bank, the zones’ operation will remain precarious, perpetually at the mercy of positive relations between Israel and Palestine. Given the existing infrastructure of the West Bank, the water and electricity capacity of these zones will be totally controlled by Israel. Most importantly, Israel will maintain full control of the movement of goods and people between the zones and the outside world. By incorporating Israel’s infrastructure of control within the plans, these projects serve to normalize an illegal occupation and undermine Palestinian political aspirations.

When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew from Washington to Tel Aviv in 2005 to strike a deal with Israel on Palestinian movement and access, it was clear that the US understood that without freedom of movement the Palestinian economy does not stand a chance, even if the economic framework being promoted has nothing to do with Palestinian economic independence. Although it signed the agreement, Israel refused to implement its terms, and the US failure to confront Israel means that the conditions necessary for Palestinian economic sustainability have not been met.

The World Bank acknowledges as much when it states repeatedly in its reports that, even while proclaiming 8 percent economic growth, the “critical private sector investment needed to drive sustainable growth remains hampered by restrictions on movement of people and goods.” It is clear that economic growth is not necessarily equivalent to economic development, especially in a politically charged, donor-driven environment like the Occupied Territories under the quasi-rule of the PA.

The privileged status of the zones also raises ethical concerns. While Israeli restrictions will be eased in order to ensure smooth functioning for foreign investors, indigenous industries will continue to face the same hurdles that have hindered Palestinian industry for decades. Thus, existing businesses will be placed at a comparative disadvantage.

What Needs to Happen?
Donor funds and Palestinian efforts would be better placed if such investments targeted Palestine’s natural economic comparative advantages, for example, tourism and agriculture, without trying to confine their activities to closed zones that will, over time, empty large tracts of land of their productive capacity, not to mention create structural dependency on Israeli good will to allow these closed zones to function properly. In a land that is home to the Church of the Nativity, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dome of the Rock and dozens or other historic attractions, it makes sense to preserve and develop these existing assets, which have the potential to serve as a pillar of a future state economy.

Converting the industries in the Atarot industrial zone into something more complementary to the historic city of Jerusalem, for example, could serve to underpin Palestine’s tourism sector as well as preserve the sanctity of the greater Jerusalem vicinity. Rather than building new industrial zones, Palestinian interests would be better served if the Atarot zone were returned to Palestinian control. Adjacent to the Atarot complex is the idle Qalandiya airport. The airport, which operated prior to Israel’s occupation in 1967, would be a crucial component in efforts to build Palestine’s tourism sector.

Similarly, confiscating agricultural land to make way for large industrial projects not only strips farmers of their livelihoods, but structurally adjusts a key segment of the labor force that, over time, will lose its skills. Agricultural development in Palestine is not in need of a “zone,” but rather requires Israel to comply with international law, to release Palestinian water resources and remove the myriad of access and movement restrictions that do not allow people or products to travel freely within Palestine and abroad. Trying to concentrate agricultural growth in a limited “zone” merely opens the door for farmers outside of the zone to become economically disenfranchised by public policy, instead of being equally supported regardless of their physical location.

Singing the song of massive job creation in industrial zones without analyzing all of the ramifications could be detrimental to Palestine’s economic and political future. Placing such zones of economic activity closer to population centers and rehabilitating existing near-city industrial areas makes more sense today given the volatile political situation and the need to upgrade existing in-city and near-city zones, many of which pose health and environmental risks to their surrounding communities. Building high-tech zones in the vicinity of university campuses would be a strategic starting point. Better yet, bringing such investments into the universities themselves, which are in dire need of modernization and sustainable development, would have a more lasting impact and be  a better deterrent of political turmoil.

While they might benefit a certain elite, the planned economic zones cannot benefit Palestinian strategic interests. The notion that political differences can be solved through job creation is fundamentally flawed and will not change the reality: 60 percent of Palestinians are internally displaced or dwell in refugee camps just hours from their homes and properties; 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza survive under siege conditions; hundreds of thousands have been illegally detained by Israel; and the economy is micro-managed by a foreign military. The development projects proposed by the international community only normalize the illegal occupation, by working in partnership with Israel to fine-tune its mechanisms of control.

[1] Ma‘an News Agency, February 2, 2010.
[2] Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008), pp. 62-69.
[3] EconomyWatch.com, April 19, 2010.
[4] Leila Farsakh, “Palestinian Labor Flows to the Israeli Economy: A Finished Story?” Journal of Palestine Studies 32/1 (Autumn 2002).
[5] Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008), pp.72-5
[6] Anne Meneley, “Time in a Bottle: The Uneasy Circulation of Palestinian Olive Oil,” Middle East Report 248 (Fall 2008).
[7] Ynet, November 8, 2010.

*Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business management consultant living in Ramallah. This essay was made possible with partial support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Written FOR


The Palestinians themselves have expressed outrage in private over reports of the US offer, saying it was a bribe to get Israel to fulfil basic international obligations.

US offers Israel written guarantees  

After Israel balked at the terms of a deal aimed at restarting peace talks, US says it is prepared to put it in writing.

Israel’s prime minister said the deal had to serve Israel’s “vital interests, with security being the priority,” [EPA]


The United States is prepared to offer Israel written security guarantees if it would help to restart stalled Middle East peace talks.

“We continue our discussions with the Israelis. If there is a need to put certain understandings in writing, we will be prepared to do that,” PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, said.

He declined to say what the details of the package may be.

The US has offered Israel an incentive package for a 90-day moratorium on settlement building in the occupied West Bank, but the proposed freeze would not include building in occupied East Jerusalem.

Security incentives

Binyamin Netanuahu, Israel’s prime minister, has asked his cabinet to consider the package of security and diplomatic incentives.

Possible incentives
In exchange for a 90-day moratorium on building in the West Bank, the US is reported to be offering Israel: 

Vetoes on resolutions that do not favour Israel.

A promise that no more settlement freezes will be sought by the US.

20 F-35 stealth warplanes worth $3bn.

A comprehensive, signed security agreement with Israel.

Increasing pressure on Iran and Syria to curb their nuclear and proliferation activities.


But an Israeli official said on Friday the US had not yet provided the guarantees that Israel wanted, with Washington reluctant to commit to paper all the promises Netanyahu says he was offered verbally last week.

The latest snag concerned a pledge that Israel says Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, made to provide the country with 20 stealth warplanes, free of charge.

Politicians said Washington was backtracking and now wanted some sort of payment for the coveted fighter aircraft.

“It looks like the free stealth fighters have slipped,” Benny Begin, a minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party who is opposed to the proposed US deal, said.

He said that Washington was setting a trap to extract major concessions later down the line.

“One may wonder if you cannot agree to understandings from one week to the next, what could happen over three months,” Begin told Army Radio on Friday.

The Palestinians themselves have expressed outrage in private over reports of the US offer, saying it was a bribe to get Israel to fulfil basic international obligations.

Stopping short of rejecting the deal outright, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, expressed strong reservations about the proposal because the moratorium on new construction would only apply to the West Bank and not East Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital.

Erekat said that the US had not officially informed the Palestinians about the details of the proposal, but that “they know we have a major problem in not including east Jerusalem”.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, will put the US plan before Palestinian decision-makers and call for an immediate session of Arab League officials before announcing an official decision, Erekat said.

Abbas anger

Abbas told the the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that he refuses to link the troubled Middle East peace process with a US offer of additional military aid to its Israeli ally.

“We refuse to allow the offer of planes be linked in any way to a freeze on settlements,” Abbas said in the interview, which was published on Friday.

“The United States is an ally of Israel and we can not prevent that,” Abbas said.

“But let their aid be carried out far removed from the  Palestinian peace negotiations and not be used as a pretext for giving more weaponry to Israel.”

The potential construction freeze would cover future construction as well as projects that have started since September 26, when the previous 10-month moratorium expired.



Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

A post yesterday told of a Website exposing Israeli war criminals…
This sparked a not surprising reaction…

The site sparked wide public criticism, and Kadima MK Majali Wahabi even appealed to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and demanded that the site be investigated.

“Whoever incites against IDF soldiers and calls them war criminals deserves to be punished,” wrote Wahabi, who called on the police to find the culprit behind the site.

Which resulted in…

The Zymic hosting service posted a message on Thursday saying that the site was suspended for breaching its terms of service.

BUT…. thankfully it was saved on other sites and can be seen HERE.

War criminals can run, but they can’t hide!

‘War criminals’ site exposing personal details of IDF soldiers taken down

Web site called ‘Israeli war criminals’ displayed pictures, names, and details of over 200 IDF soldiers; Kadima MK says people behind site deserve to be punished.

A web hosting service removed Thursday a Web site which displayed more than 200 pictures, names and personal details of Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were dubbed by the editor “war criminals” for their actions in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008.

The site, “Israeli war criminals” was published in recent days by an anonymous source in the U.K. and declared that its goal was to focus on the personal level and not on the national level of those responsible.

The soldier listed at the top of the extensive list was IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

It was written on the site that the details of IDF soldiers and officers were most probably obtained from an Israeli soldier.

The site sparked wide public criticism, and Kadima MK Majali Wahabi even appealed to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and demanded that the site be investigated.

“Whoever incites against IDF soldiers and calls them war criminals deserves to be punished,” wrote Wahabi, who called on the police to find the culprit behind the site.

The Zymic hosting service posted a message on Thursday saying that the site was suspended for breaching its terms of service.





The latest from Remi Kanazi…

Advance Praise for Poetic Injustice

“It is through art not the news that we feel and begin to understand the long night of suffering and humiliation endured by the Palestinians. There is more truth, and perhaps finally more news, in Remi Kanazi’s poems than the pages of your daily newspaper or the sterile reports flashed across your screens.”
-Chris Hedges
, Pulitzer Prize winner and Nation Institute senior fellow

“Some poetry is meant to make you sit in quiet contemplation. Not so with Remi Kanazi’s. Read his words out loud for yourself and your friends. Let their compassionate anger, their intricate dance of ideas, their unflinching witness, wash over you, dance with you, pick you up, and spur you to action.”
-Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

“With Poetic Injustice, Remi Kanazi has burst onto the scene with breathtakingly honest prose that shakes the reader’s preconceived notions of the Middle East and pokes holes into the conventional wisdom that far too many people refuse to question. Run out and get this collection today—it will shake you up in a good way.”

-Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman and Green Party presidential nominee

“You want to hear a voice which refuses to be silenced, and only such voices carry the deep truth about what’s happening these days, about what’s happening in Gaza or Iraq or East Jerusalem? OK. If you do, listen to Remi Kanazi and the lucidity of his anger.”
-John Berger, novelist and Booker Prize winner

“Remi Kanazi’s poetry, full of defiance and longing, allows us to feel the power and pain of Palestine’s struggle.”
-John Pilger, award-winning journalist, author, and filmmaker

“Repression creates resistance. It also generates beautiful artistic works, which become a cultural weapon in the struggle for the realisation of dreams.This book of poems is a shining example of tomorrow’s Palestine.”
-Ronnie Kasrils, African National Congress activist and former South African government minister

“Back from Gaza, Remi Kanazi’s poems make tears come to my eyes. Poetry more than any other means communicates what is deepest in man, what gives us hope beyond crime and despair.
-Stéphane Hessel, former French ambassador and participant in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“In Poetic Injustice, Remi Kanazi lines up his word soldiers and marches into the battle of identity, occupation, loss and exile. Stripping the spin and gloss from policies and politics, Kanazi volleys truths from his own life as a Palestinian-American and as a witness to the oppression and occupations, state terrorism and racism. A poet with immense power and bravery, he underlines each phrase, word and line with devotion.”
-Elmaz Abinader, author, poet, and PEN Award winner

A personal note from Remi….

I’m very excited to share that my debut poetry collection & CD, Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine, will be out this January and is available for pre-order today!! This collection is the culmination of my work over the last five years and I’m really happy to be sharing the news with all of you. To purchase the collection, visit

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